These are a few handy hints on how to make sure your flowers stay alive longer. As long as you try and eliminate as many of these external factors as possible, your flowers will last much longer.
When flowers are exposed to heat, they respire at a greater rate than at lower temperatures. Respiration is basically what causes ageing in most living organisms. Flowers have high rates of respiration, making them one of the most perishable of all agricultural crops. The cooler the room or location in which they are displayed, the longer they will last.
Cold conditions below 4 degrees Celsius
Conversely, actual internal flower cells can easily become damaged if subjected to very low temperatures. Flowers grown in tropical areas, such as Orchids and Anthuriums, are particularly susceptible to low temperature damage. Never put your flowers in a freezer or anywhere that is below 4 degrees Celsius.
Draughty positions are also unfavourable spots to locate your flowers. The petals tend to dry out and respire more quickly in these areas. A corner position preferable to a hallway or near open doors.
Flowers which are subjected to direct sunlight can easily become overheated, resulting in an increased rate of respiration and the drying out of petals etc, leading to reduced vase life.
It has been noted that usually with air conditioning (especially in large offices or stores), fresh flowers tend to dry out very quickly. This is particularly the case with flowers that have large, exposed petals.
Ripening fruit and vegetables
Perhaps one of the biggest enemies of cut flowers is ethylene gas which is given off by ripening fruit and vegetables. It speeds up the dying process of many flowers. Some of the more sensitive varieties to ethylene gas are Carnations, Roses, Orchids, Lilies, Sweet Williams and Gypsophila.
Crushing or splitting of flower stems
Unfortunately in the past, many people have been led to believe that the crushing or splitting of flower stems is a good way of extending their vase life. Recent tests have shown that this method generally does not work. It actually does tremendous damage to the tiny tube-like vessels in the stems, blocking the flow of water up to the flower heads, and leads to a faster discoloration of the vase water.
Other dead flowers
When flowers are arranged in a vase, some of the flower heads will naturally die before others. It is a good idea to remove these heads quickly, because if left on the stems, they not only look unsightly, but will often give off small amounts of ethylene gas, which will diminish the life of any remaining flowers.
Dirty water provides a perfect breeding ground for microscopic bacteria to breed rapidly. These bacteria attach themselves to the stem ends and block the flow of water up to the flower heads. You should always change the vase water regularly or use a good cut flower food which will decrease the rate at which these bacteria breed.
Metal containers can cause reactions with many flower preservatives. This can lead to the preservative being far less effective in solution.
Material supplied by www.cutflowerfood.com
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