Sunday, April 19, 2015

Care and Handling for Your Cut Flowers

You’ve invited guests over to dinner, and they haven’t come empty handed. A couple of bottles of wine in tow and a beautiful bouquet of flowers! Your first instinct is to find your favorite vase, put some water in it and voila, flowers for your table. Did you know that with proper conditioning you can really prolong the lifespan of your flowers? Without proper care and handling, your beautiful bouquet will not last very long.  
There are numerous old wives tales about using 7up, pennies, bleach, sugar in your vase water just to name a few. These things can work but only in a limited way. Flowers HATE bacteria! So where do you start? Well you know that little pack of powder that comes with the flowers? Yeah, well that plays a big role on the lifespan of your stems. Here’s why;
These packets contain a powder combination of Sucrose, Acidifier and Biocides. All three elements combined are essential for flower longevity.

Sucrose – Acts as a nourishment and food for the flower. This is NOT table sugar you put in your Starbucks, it is in the form of sugar called Dextrose.

Acidifier – Most tap water is high in alkaline and not the proper pH level that is ideal for flowers. The acidifier acts as a pH stabilizer, which helps bring the pH level up and the stems can readily take up more moisture. Citric Acid is the most common ingredient found to be a successful acidifier. Also aids in stabilizing the pigment and colour of the bloom.

Biocide- Bacteria can block the ends of the stem making it impossible for the flower to take up water. Biocide helps to control the growth of bacteria and fungus in the water.
              
                 
So you’re thinking, “Great, throw a pack of the preservative in the vase and I’m done”.
Sorry folks, more things to consider. The following steps will ensure your flower longevity;

Step 1 – Your vase should be clean and debris free. A little bleach and rinse should do the trick.

Step 2- Fill vase with warm tepid water, flowers are usually at room temperature when you receive them and cold water will shock the stems. Warm water will help the stems take up more of the nutrients from the floral preservative.

Step 3- Dissolve ½ of the packet of preservative in your vase. Give it a good stir.

Step 4- Remove any leaves and foliage that will be beneath the water surface, as it will aid in the growth of bacteria.

Step 5- Re-cut the stems with a sharp paring knife. Scissors are not recommended as they will crush the end of the stem and promote rotting. When re-cutting, cut at an angle to promote easier water uptake.

Insert your flowers in the vase and enjoy! Make sure you place your flowers out of direct sunlight, and away from any heating vents or cold drafts.
Repeat all 5 steps every other day to ensure you get the most out of your flowers. A light spritz of water will also help in the dry winter months.
By taking these simple steps, you will be able to enjoy the true beauty of your blooms.
Tina Ingribelli ,Crow in White Creative Studio