How To Keep Cut Flowers Fresh Last Longer And Homemade Recipe For Cut Flower Preservative
Everyone of us has received a gift of a flower bouquet or we have cut flowers to enhance the beauty of our room. We all wish to preserve it in its original beauty and glory for as long as possible. We open up the thin transparent cellophane paper wrapped around the flowers. We then proceed to put the bouquet in a vase and fill it with water hoping that we will be able to prolong its life in its glory for some days. Well cut and well arranged flowers not only brighten a room but brighten up our spirits as well.
But inspite of our best efforts many a time we find that the flowers start drooping and shrivelling soon after. How we wish we knew why this happened? How do we go about extending the life of cut flowers for as long as possible?
I will highlight below some steps that will extend the life and beauty of the cut flowers. Caring for cut flowers is combination of art and science, both.
For one thing it has to be appreciated that the sooner the flowers are placed in water, the slower they will wilt. Water, as for humans, is a prime need for flowers' sustainibilty.
Also it is better to cut off a small part of the stem at the free end as the cells at the cut end tend to get filled up by air almost immediately. Thus it is better to cut the stem ends under water so that air is not taken in.
A Simple Home Made Cut Flower Preservative
A simple home made cut flower preservative can be made as follows:
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon bleach
- 1 liter tepid water
Mix these ingredients well. Add 1/4 teaspoon bleach every 4 days.
Another recipe is:
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp white vinegar
- 1 liter tepid water
- A Clean Vase - The Starting Point
It is very necessary to start with a clean vase and a glass vase adds to the beauty of the cut flowers. You can use any vase but ensure that it is clean from dirt and grime from the inside and outside.
To clean a glass vase, take some wire or steel wool and some glass cleaner liquid. Dip the steel wool in this cleaner liquid and scrape out the dirt that has attached to the inside of the vase. clean the outside as well and rinse off the cleaner well. Dry with a dry cloth or tissue.
- Adding Water & Preservatives
Fresh, pure water is absolutely imperative to maintaining cut flowers. To start with fill pure fresh water that has commercially made flower preservative added to it - this is a mixture of sugar, an acidifier and a micro organism inhibitor - Since we usually remove a majority of the leaves, plants get deficient on food (carbohydrates) since
- they have been de leaved &
- they are placed indoors without direct sunlight and in much reduced light.
Because of the above 2 reasons the cut flowers get deficient on food and it thus becomes imperative to add food in the form of sugar in the water.
Also the acidifier helps to maintain the Ph of the water close to the that of the cell sap and also makes the pigment and color of the flowers more stable. Red roses turn blue without the addition of an acidifier or preservative.
Alkaline water shortens the life of cut flowers.
The microorganism inhibitor contains the growth of the bacteria and keeps the water free of them.
A process called hardening or conditioning, goads the cut flowers to take up water in huge quantities. The process is fairly simple and is given below.
Place the freshly cut stems in water which is brought to a temperature of 110 deg F. Before you put in the cut flowers remember to add the preservative.
Place the vase with the cut flowers in a cool place for about 1-2 hours. It has been found that at this temperature the water uptake is rapid and quick.
The flowers lose less water because of the cooler location and the higher intake of water ensures proper hydration of the cut flowers.
Once the hardening process is complete, top up water as and when required with fresh water to which floral preservative has been added.
- Cutting Off The Leaves
Before the cut flowers are put in the vase, cut away the leaves that are going to remain submerged in water as they will rot in any case and spoil the water due to mold and bacterial growth.
Roses tend to stay better if the stems are de leaved. Leaves also tend to take up a lot of water as also the flowers so removing leaves removes the competition for water.
- Cutting The Stems Clean
It is important to use the right tools to cut the stems. Do not use scissors as they crush and smash the stems due to their thickness. Remember a crushed stem will not intake the full amount of water.
To do this either use clippers or shears. You can cut both the stems as well as flowers with this. Just make sure they are clean.
It has been found that cutting the stem at a 45 degree angle ensures more water absorption due to the larger area available.
Also cut the stems every 3rd day. It helps the stem to absorb more water.
- Topping Up The Water
Top up with water, that has the flower preservative added at the recommended levels, as and when required.
- Location Within The House
Keep the cut flowers in a cool place in the room away from direct sunlight, other equipments that expel or radiate heat and also fans. These factors increase heat and induce water loss.
Some Important Points To Be Kept In Mind
Change Vase Water Every 2 Days
This is the most effective way to keep the cut flowers fresh for a long time.
Also use tepid water for cut flowers but cold water for those with bulbs like hyacyinths, tulips and the like.
Do Not Keep Cut Flowers Close To Fruits
Fruits release gas that causes them to wilt faster for example Apples release ethylene gas.
Do Not Overcrowd The Flowers
It is very important to keep the air circulation around the flowers moving hence do not jam pack them.
Trim Off Dead Flowers Regularly
To prolong the life of the healthy flowers it is important to trim off the dead flowers regularly and as soon as possible.
Time Of Cutting flowers
Cut flowers only in the early morning hours. It helps as the sugar content in the flower is at its peak. Some dew on the leaves also indicates it is the right time to cut.
Late evening, when the weather has cooled down, is the next best time.
Roses, Gladioli, Daffodils And Irises, Poppies
Cut when the flowers are buds.
Dianthus, Marigolds, Delphiniums, Zinnias, Chrysantemums, Dahlias, Asters
Cut flowers when they open out well.
Remember, freshly cut flowers from your own garden will last longer than ones bought from a florist.
- Which Cut Flowers Last The Longest
Which cut flowers last the longest? The top six most popular fresh cut flowers are gathered and discussed, including tips and tricks to help extend the vase life for each.
- How to Make bouquets of cut flowers last longer.
Don't throw money away, learn how to get the most from your cut flowers. Keep your flowers looking fresh and help them last days longer.
How To Keep Cut Flowers Fresh
How To Make cut Roses Last Longer
How To Make Cut Flowers Last Longer
© 2012 Rajan Singh Jolly
More by this Author
Spathodea, Flame of the forest, African tulip tree, Pichkari, Nandi flame are the names of the same tree. Learn about the various facets of this wonderful tree, its medicinal properties and uses.
Read all about the gulmohar tree or the commonly called flame of the forest tree.
Onions are so commonly used in almost all dishes that we are not aware of the immense health benefits they offer. To know more, read on.