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|Appreciation of flowers is associated with a high culture in society and we are heartened to see more Americans are buying and growing more plants and flowers. All the artificial flowers in the world can not equal the supreme beauty of a single rose bud unfurling its petals. That is all it takes to cheer up a drab room – a single blossom and a sprig of green. They are even more
meaningful if they were grown in your backyard or window, although your
florist has flowers that will fit into anyone’s budget.
Cut flowers are plants without roots. That means the only food they have is the sugar stored in the leaves and stems. This sugar is produced during the daylight hours. That means you make your flowers last longer if you supply them with extra food. In fact, a rose can be made to last longer in a vase in your living room, than if it were left on the bush!
If cut flowers are plants without roots, how does water get up the stem?Top of Page
The cells in the stem are like a handful of soda straws. As long as the
with sodium ions (the “soft”ones). As the sodium builds up in the soil, it draws the soil particles together, making it drain poorly. If you use softened water on house plants, first thoroughly dissolve one half-teaspoon of gypsum (calcium sulfate) in a gallon of water and apply to your plants two or three times. Also, avoid distilled water because the lack of salt in the water pulls normal salts out of the plant cells. A myth that needs debunking is that it is unwise to have cut flowers or plants in a bedroom or hospital room because they take oxygen out of the night air.Top of Page
During the day, plants give off oxygen necessary for human life. At night, in the absence of light, they do consume tiny amounts of oxygen, but you should not worry about it. It would be very difficult to pack enough plants into a room to lower the oxygen level significantly. It is a far greater worry to be in a room where several people are smoking, because smoking produces carbon monoxide.
Another myth is that cut flowers should not be sent to hospital patients because of dangerous bacteria that may be in the vase water.
A short while ago a research team at the University of Miami Medical School stated that it had found gram-negative bacteria in flower-vase water. The researchers suggested that flowers be kept away from high-risk patients. Wire services picked this up and flashed it all over America. David Tapli, professor of epidemiology at the medical school said:
“I don’t think there is any danger at all to the average patient in hospitals or at home. We’ve no clinical evidence that flowers ever caused an infection.”
Water and Preservatives:
It probably depends on how concentrated the chlorine is. Household bleach (Sodium hypochlorite) added to tap water until it’s identical with drinking water, which is injected with chlorine gas, doesn’t seem to harm most plants except violets. We do know that high concentrations of chlorine will show damage to geraniums, petunias, marigolds, and kalanchoes. Fortunately, it’s easy to avoid chlorine burn. Simply draw off a pail of water at night and let it
Best Temperature for Keeping Flowers LongerTop of Page
If you want to get more mileage from cut flowers, keep them as cool as
Cut Flower FoodTop of Page
When you cut a flower from the plant, you sever it from its life support
(bi-oh-side), a sugar and an acidifier. Biocides are chemicals that kill the bacteria, yeasts, and fungi found naturally in vase water. When cut flowers are placed in plain water, bacteria and yeasts grow astronomically, feeding on the sap that bleeds from the cut flower stem. It has been shown that within three hours of placing a freshly cut flower stem in a clean vase containing water from your kitchen sink there will be 30 million bacteria in the vase! These bacteria plug the tiny stem tubes that conduct water to the flower. Buds fail to open, necks bend and leaves wilt as a result. Therefore, all good preservatives contain biocide. If you don’t use a preservative, we recommend changing the water every two days.
Cutting FlowersTop of Page
For best results, cut flowers in late afternoon or early evening when the plant is filled with stored food and flowers are most fragrant.
Keep in mind that maturity of flowers affects their keeping quality. Roses, glads, irises, poppies, etc. should be cut in bud stage, but flowers such as asters, dahlias, zinnias, marigolds, chrysanthemums, and delphiniums should be well opened.
If roses or other cut flowers wilt as soon as you arrange them, don’t think the florist sold you stale roses. He wouldn’t be in business long if he sold you stale flowers.
How Can I Make Flowers Last Longer?Top of Page
Poinsettia blossoms, poppies and dahlias should have stems inserted in boiling water for 30 seconds, then in warm water.
The University of California came out with a recipe for homemade cut flower preservative.
Add one part of lemon-lime soda (not diet) to 3 parts of water and to each quart of this solution add 1/4 teaspoon of household bleach. Thereafter add 1/4 teaspoon of bleach after each four days of use.
Here is another similar homemade cut flower preservative: 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of white sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of household bleach (liquid). Add to 1 quart of water.
An agriculture professor in Texas recommends about two ounces of Listerine mouthwash per gallon of vase water to extend the life of cut roses and other cut flowers. Listerine contains, among other things, sucrose (food for flowers) and a bactericide. Its acidity promotes quicker uptake of water by the stems.
How about a penny or aspirin in the water to keep flowers fresh?
Can flower gas cause aging?Top of Page
Flowers produce ethylene gas (a hormone). Just a small amount of it will
Is it possible to get a rash handling flowers?
If you want to be safe, wear surgical gloves, or coat hands with a
Can florist flowers be used in salads?Top of Page
If you grow your own, yes, but if they are purchased I wouldn’t try it. In order to produce perfect blooms, for florists, the flower crop is treated with pesticides that aren’t safe to eat. Some flowers may also be conditioned in water that contains a preservative or sprayed with dye. Keep florist flowers in a vase, not in your salad bowl.
Is there any way to salvage a “sleeping pompon” mum?Top of Page
The cause of a flower going to sleep is the lack of oxygen. Try to salvage it this way. Heat a 5% solution of soda water to 110 degree F. and put the “poms” in it for four hours. Then replace with room temperature water. If they don’t respond in 24 hours, discard.
Why do tulips often droop after arranging?Top of Page
Using Floral FoamsTop of Page
Years ago florists used to “stuff” containers with chicken wire or evergreen branches to hold flowers in place. With the floral foams, flowers could be held in place, allowing good water uptake, thus promoting longevity. But with evergreen “stuffing”, decay would often set in, shortening the life of flowers.
When arranging flowers, make sure the stem bases or ends are in contact with the foam. If the flower is inserted too deeply, remove it completely and reinsert the stem, making sure there is no gap between the foam (or block) and the base of the stem.
Ten Tips For Arranging FlowersTop of Page
Corsage CareTop of Page
Slip the corsage into a covered refrigerator dish or cellophane bag (tightly fold over to seal in the moisture) and place the flowers in the warmest part of the refrigerator. The important thing is to keep out the air. If you are traveling and there is no refrigerator, sprinkle cold water on the flowers or place moist cotton over the corsage, and keep it in the coolest part of the room.
Water spots some flowers, such as sweet peas, orchids, delphiniums and lily blossoms. Nor should water be sprinkled on camellias. Cold water hardens the petals pf peonies, roses and gardenias. It is always safe to place moist cotton over flowers. Don’t expect all corsages to last the same length of time.
Preserving FoliageTop of Page
One of the best ways is with glycerine, known chemically as glycerol, a
Making Lilac Blooms LastTop of Page
Few things are more disappointing than a vase of lilac blossoms that do
One of the finest weddings we ever did was with lilacs (white) handled
DryingTop of Page
Microwaves can dry flowers quickly and easily. You need scissors, a
From florist or hobby shops, you can get silica gel, florist wire, floral tape, and plastic spray or artist protective spray. (When silica gel crystals turn pink, heat them in the oven a few minutes until blue color returns.)
The flowers that usually work best are brightly colored, half open, firm and thin petaled. Yellow retains color well, white may become dull, dark colors may turn darker. Flowers generally should have 1 inch to 2 inch stems; be kept in a cool place or refrigerator until use; and be used as soon as possible.
Place flowers in 2 inches of silica gel in a metal-free container. Leave 3/4 inch free around each flower. Make sure gel has complete contact with all areas of the flower by lifting petals with a toothpick while gently sifting silica gel over them. Cover completely. Place uncovered container in the (microwave) oven. Set timer and heat for specified minutes. If flowers do not seem completely dry, return to oven for one minute. Remove container and let set, still covered, at least one half hour, preferably overnight.
Fresh Flowers… No CostTop of Page
Homeowners who don’t want to wait until spring brings out blossoms on
When do I need flowers?Top of Page
Some facts may vary by region. Please check with your local lawn and garden dealer if concerned about possible variations.
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