Wednesday, 23 May 2012 by Keith Bahlmann
Fresh flowers serve many purposes. A bouquet of flowers can be a gift on a special holiday or birthday. Some people apologize with flowers, while others use flowers to convey feelings of love or appreciation. Many people like to display fresh-cut flowers in their homes because their beauty can brighten the mood indoors. Others plant rows and rows of flowers in a garden with the express purpose of cutting them and bringing them into the home.
While outdoor flowers can remain beautiful and bountiful outside, once they are cut, there is a limited amount of time before they begin to wilt and wither. But there are ways to prolong the life of cut flowers to enjoy their beauty as long as possible.
* Cut correctly. Creating a large enough surface area on the stem for the uptake of water is essential. That is why florists recommend cutting the stem on a slant to expose more area to the water.
* Place flowers in water immediately. Some people advocate cutting the stems while they're actually submerged in water. However, you will probably be fine if you simply recut the stems on flowers you brought inside and immediately put them in a vase of water. The key is not to let the tip of the stem dry out or close up with an air bubble, sap or other substances, preventing the uptake of water. Be sure to use lukewarm water so as not to shock the blooms.
* Remove leaves. Take off the leaves of the plant that would end up underwater in the vase. Exposure to the water could cause the leaves to rot and fall off, creating algae or sludge in the vase water. It also may breed extra bacteria or attract small insects to the water. However, do not to remove the thorns from roses, as this tends to shorten their shelf life.
* Choose young flowers. Mature flowers may have peaked and begun to make room for a new round of blooms, so try to choose young buds or blooms that just opened so that you'll have an opportunity to enjoy them longer.
* Create a viable water atmosphere. Once a fresh flower is cut and a stem is placed in water, bacteria and fungi can start to grow almost immediately. These microscopic organisms can clog the small tubes inside the stem that suck up water for nourishment. Many florists send home a packet of water additive to alleviate some problems in the indoor environment. The packet will contain a biocide that kills bacteria and fungi. There will be an acidifier as well as sugar. The acidifier makes the water more acidic to allow better absorption of water up the stem. The sugar is a food source for the flowers. Homeowners who cut flowers from their gardens can purchase these additives or create their own variations from items around the house. It has been said a penny in the water will kill the microorganisms because copper is a fungicide. An aspirin can make the water more acidic. You can also try small amounts of bleach, lemon-lime soda or even antiseptic mouthwash.
* Keep flowers away from ... Don't place cut flowers next to fruit, which gives off gases as it ripens, causing flowers to age faster. Also, keep the flowers away from direct sunlight and try to keep them in a cool place.
* Change the water. Keep on top of water maintenance by changing it at least every 2 to 3 days to maintain good water health. Be sure to replace the additives each time you change the water.
By following a few strategies you can keep fresh-cut flowers lasting longer for enjoyment.