Keeping Flowers Fresh: Myth vs. Fact
I am sure we all hate when flowers shiver and droop. So, it is best to do all you can in order to maintain their fresh look for longer. But, there are so many myths and recipes out there which might waste money and time, some might even speed up the withering process. If you have worked in a flower shop, you might have seen your fair share of weird practices – using a hammer to smash hydrangea stems, pouring hot water on flowers, pricking tulip’s neck with a pin – is this some sort of torture for flowers? Not to forget getting flowers drunk with alcohol or vodka.
With the tons of myths out there on how to keep cut flowers blooming, how would you know which ones are good? This article features some of the popular myths and explains whether they are a bust or a win.
1. DIY flower tonics
There are many DIY tonics such as solutions made with pennies, aspirin, and water, vodka or gin, or sprite or pennies to keep flowers fresh. There is some logic to some of the tonics e.g. some people believe that putting a penny inside the vase will let copper sip into the water to prolong the flower freshness. But this myth has been debunked by science as the solubility of the copper present in pennies is quite low. On the other hand, people who soak flower stems in gin or vodka might be not be putting a drink to good use. Rather go for solutions for preserving flowers that can be found in flower shops or nurseries. Just make sure you adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions. An incorrect mix of the solution with water might be too toxic for the flowers. Another alternative is to place the flowers in fresh water and change the water more often.
2. Add some bleach into the water
Bleach is a bactericide – a chemical that gets rid of bacteria, but if you add too much, the flower stems will become white. So, ensure you add an acidic element, most people often use vinegar, lime, or lemon juice along with bleach. All you need is a little bit of bleach.
3. Smashing the flower stems
Some people think that smashing the woody stems of flowers like hydrangea will increase its ability to take up water. This myth is a bust. Don’t do it! The smashed stems will simply make more bacteria grow in the water. The contaminated water will only clog the stems and blocks the flow of water to the flowers.
4. Using hot water to open stubborn flower heads
This myth does not work at all when you are trying to open stubborn flower heads like that of birds of paradise. The solution is pretty simple, just use a knife to cut an opening on the head and lightly use your hand to pull out the petals.
5. The vase life of the flowers will be shorter if you remove the anthers
The vase life is not affected at all by the removal of anthers, however, this will save your clothes from unnecessary stains! If you do get pollens on your clothes, the most ideal approach to take them off is by brushing them away with dry and soft material; chenille stem; or soft brush. So long you don’t use your hands, as this will make the stains set. You can likewise utilize a bit of tape to strip the pollens from your clothes. You can easily remove the pollen stain by putting the clothes out in the sun to make the stain vanish.
6. The perfect method to keep tulips upright is to store them in a paper or basin in the dark
Some even go further to pierce the flowers so as to prevent it from popping open too fast. Gravity is what actually causes tulips to droop, not light. So, keeping them in the dark won’t help anything. You ought to keep them upright in their plastic sleeves. They bend if they are able to tilt a bit. Concerning the piercing idea, most florists have tested this and found it to be baseless. The most ideal approach to shield them from the opening is to let them remain cold.
7. Snapping the ends to increase vase life
People do this for tall flowers like snapdragons, tuberose, and gladiola. This has some aesthetic purpose but it doesn’t affect the flower shelf life. Most tall flowers have ends that normally don’t open and might become brown, so cutting them will make the flowers appear nicer.
8. Processing cut flowers with hot water
Flowers take up the most water 1 -2 days subsequent to cutting. Warm water (above 100 F) causes rehydration chemicals to degrade faster and this will improve the rate of water uptake by the stems in the first few days, yet research hasn’t uncovered any long-term advantages to vase life. Hot water might kill bacteria on the stems and in solution but it also destroys the stem tissues, creating a perfect growth condition to micro-organisms when the water cools.
9. Removing Leaves
It doesn’t make a difference how much leave you to take off the flower stems as long as you don’t leave any underneath the water line. Removal of any leaves that fall underneath the waterline helps to minimize bacteria growth in the solution. But since leaves are important as transpiration occurs through them, which allows the flow of water to each stem. Don’t take all leaves from single stems. Ensure each stem have as much as possible leaves, but any damaged or broken ones. In some cases, leaves become yellow when the flower is about to die, which makes blossoms look old and droopy. This is particularly visible in bulb blossoms including tulips, irises, lilies, and so forth. Adviser your planter to use hormone-adjusting pre-treatment on these flowers in order to counteract untimely leaf yellowing and have green leaves that outlive the flowers.
10. Crushing ethylene
Despite the fact that ethylene causes serious issues for cut blooms, a flower vendor can’t do much. The obligation falls on the grower. As a retail flower specialist, you can tackle this issue by requesting that your cultivator guarantee you that he is treating stems with ethylene inhibitor affect the harvest. He ought to also dispose of likely ethylene sources in your store, including tobacco smoke, vehicle exhaust, food, fruit, and rotting foliage and blooms.