Not Just a Pretty Face

   Written by on September 24, 2015 at 11:51 am

logo - walk in gardenAny way you look at it, flowers are an investment. Whether you’re considering the seeds you plant in pots or in the garden, or the arrangements you buy at the florist, you want to get the biggest bang possible for your buck.
The holidays are just around the corner, and that’s a big flower-giving time of the year. Thanksgiving centerpieces, Christmas poinsettias and forced bulbs, various small arrangements placed around the house during parties. It doesn’t matter whether you buy them or gather odds and ends from your yard to make big impressive pots full of blooms and branches, there are some simple things you can do to add a few extra days to the life of your flowers.
Cut at the proper time. Flowers with multiple buds on each stem, such as delphinia and lilacs, should have at least one bud starting to open and show interior color. Plants that have one flower per stem, such as marigolds and sunflowers, will do best when they are allowed to fully before they are cut.
Cut during the cooler parts of the day. This means early morning whenever possible so the flowers will retain more water and stay fresh longer. Late evening is as option but the flowers will not have the benefit of night time dew.
Use a clean container. Reduce the risk of bacteria and other micro-organisms infecting your flowers. Choose a container with a neck wide enough to easily fit the flowers stems.
Treat flowers to a hot water bath. Immediately after cutting, put flowers in a container with hot water and then store in a cool place. The heat aids in the absorption of the water into the stems while the flowers lose less water in the cool air. This could add days to the life of the blooms.
When you receive cut flowers or cut them from the garden, remove leaves submerged in water. This will reduce the possibility of bacteria developing in the container.
Change the water. This should be done every day to prolong the life of the blooms.
Trim the stems. A good time to do this is every time you change the water. Flowers from the florist should be trimmed immediately upon receipt.
Use a flower preservative. You can make your own by mixing one part clear soda (Sprite, 7 Up) to three parts water and then add a few drops of bleach to kill harmful micro-organisms. Do not use diet soda (not enough sugar content) or cola (too much acid).
For smaller containers, just add a few drops of lemon juice a couple pinches of sugar to the water.
Copper pennies don’t work, in spite of that old wives’ tale. Copper can kill fungus, but the copper present in pennies is not soluble in water.
Ground up aspirin or white vinegar are alternative sources of bacteria-killing acid, but tend to be less effective than lemon juice or citrus soda.
Droopy roses. This is the most disappointing aspect of store-bought flowers. We’ve all seen a beautiful dozen roses delivered for a special occasion only to have half the blooms fall right over in a couple of days. Try this: stick the entire rose under warm water to attempt to rehydrate it. Not fool-proof, but it couldn’t hurt.

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