Friday, February 12, 2010

Make your V-day flowers look great through next week!

When caring for fresh cut flowers, diligence is key. Flowers require care and attention to ensure that they last long past the day they are brought home from the store or cut from an outdoor arrangement. Balanced, clean water and open stems are the most important factors to making fresh cut flowers last.
Lukewarm water is best for fresh cut flowers since water molecules move faster when they are warm. The speed of the molecules allows it to be absorbed faster. Bulbs prefer cold water since these plants are used to cool ground temperatures.
Since some hopefuls will have flowers coming to them in the near future, we thought we'd share a few tried and tested tips to help you help your stems maintain their punch through the upcoming week!

Here are just things to continue to get the best bang for your buck:

1: When flowers are purchased from the store, their stems should be re-cut about an inch (2.5 cm) or so above the old cut line to remove the air bubble that developed when the flowers were removed abruptly from their water supply.

2: Foliage below the water line needs to be removed because it contributes to bacteria buildup.

3: When placing the arrangement in the home, avoid direct sunlight and areas subject to constant breezes like those in front of a heater vent or air conditioner.

4: The water should be changed every two or three days and stems re-cut to avoid the buildup of bacteria.

5: To further contribute to the life of freshly cut flowers, a balancing agent can be added to the water. The small packets usually provided by florists contain three things. First is a biocide, or chemicals that kill bacteria. Bacteria is a common killer of fresh cut flowers, second only to the absence of water. Also included is an acidifier to create acid and increase water uptake, and sugar to feed the plant.

Another that most people can make with products in their home is a solution of lemon juice, sugar, and bleach. To one quart of water (.95 liter), add 2 tablespoons (29.6 ml) of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon (14.8 ml) of sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) of bleach. With a solution like this and regular maintenance, fresh cut flowers can have long and healthy lives in the home.

6: If the flower food solution becomes cloudy, replace it entirely with properly mixed flower food solution. If possible, re-cut stems by removing one to two inches with a sharp knife. Be sure to use a sharp knife or clippers that will not crush the stems. Immediately place the stems into solution.

7: Keep flowers in a cool spot (65 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit). Most flowers will last longer under cool conditions.
Photo Credit: Martha Stewart Weddings

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