Flower Care: Correcting the Misinformation
Correcting the Misinformation
I recently read an article called "5 ways to make cut flowers last."
One thing that drives me in this industry, more than anything else, is my desire to educate people on the importance, value, varieties, and proper care of cut flowers.
As an expert in the floral industry, reading bad advice on the internet is legitimately cringe worthy.
I couldn't help by share some notes to clarify the misinformation the author is spouting.
Hopefully, I can help a budding flower enthusiast (DIY or otherwise) toward the path of truth.
You're welcome 😘
- Slice the stems with scissors & place in lukewarm water
- It's not a good idea to use "scissors" on flower stems, they constrict the vessels and actually make it harder for them to absorb water. Instead, use a floral knife or Japanese floral sheers. These will give you a cleaner cut and allow the stems to hydrate efficiently.
- Warm water is only necessary if you're trying to get the flowers to bloom FASTER. If you want your flowers to last longer, process with room temperature to slightly colder water (there are exceptions to this for very specific varieties, but this is a general rule).
- Avoid overcrowding.
- This one is true.
- Place arrangement away from fruits, drafts, direct sun, and smoke.
- This one is also true, but I will add that if you can keep them in a cool area the arrangement will last longer.
- Ideally (and totally unlikely for the average at home floral enthusiast), most flowers (tropical flowers being one exception) should be kept between 36 and 39 degrees to stay dormant, but really if you can keep your flower spot that is even slightly colder than normal, you will see positive results.
- Spray them with hair spray.
Hmm, spray them with hairspray?
Noooo. Don't do that.
- I know this has been a method used for drying flowers (never by me), but I personally don't recommend spraying any chemicals onto a flower that wasn’t engineered for flowers!
- Instead, use a product called Crowning Glory. Specifically designed to extend the life of cut flowers by providing a protective moisture shield allowing the petals to hold moisture (flowers are mostly water, just like us) for a longer amount of time. Hair spray will do exactly the opposite of what you're going for.
This is what got me. This is the advice that made me start furiously typing my counter article:
- Make Sugar Water
Ugh - please don't make sugar water, mmkay?
First of all, sugar increases bacteria growth (ladies, you know), but more importantly…
While it is true that flowers need carbohydrates (sugars), They also need an acid and/or a pH balancer/ biocide.
Many flowers actually need specific formulas of each to help them thrive.
I could go on, but I am focusing on the sugar aspect.
- Flower food contains dextrose which is a simple sugar naturally derived from other plants (corn) and is actually chemically identical to the sugar found in our blood (glucose)...because we're all connected, circle of life and all that, right?
- Table sugar, or Sucrose, on the other hand, is a complex sugar made up chemically by a blend of 50% Glucose & 50% Fructose.
- I'm not a biologist (although my husband is, so I guess I could ask him 🙄), but my guess is that plants prefer dextrose to sucrose because of the way it's absorbed on a cellular level.
- As I wrote - dextrose is a simple sugar, meaning it's easy to absorb and doesn't require digestion (we call this the phloem vasculature in plants). It absorbs directly into the bloodstream (or the xylem vasculature in plants).
- Conversely, Sucrose (table sugar) is a COMPLEX sugar. Meaning it has to be broken down and digested (phloem) before it can be absorbed into the bloodstream (xylem).
Think about that for a sec, if you were a stressed out little flower that just got sliced open - would you be happier with a nutrient that you could immediately use or one that would have to be sorted out before providing you the energy you need to maintain living?
Remember - Question everything you read on the internet! Even this article. Vett me, check the info, let me know if I have something incorrect. I live for knowledge, new techniques and value educating myself. You're never to old or too smart to learn something new.
- Casey Wagner