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Archive for September, 2010

Fresh Cut Flower Preservative Packets

Monday, September 6th, 2010

When a flower is cut from the plant, photosynthesis is no longer an option for the production of sugar. The sugar is needed to continue development of the flower bud into a flower. With this sugar, the flower will perform better in terms of size, color and vase life. While cut flowers will not photosynthesize, they will transpire. That is, water still is taken up by the stems and released into the air through the stomata. A turgid flower is a hydrated flower. A wilted flower is one where the cells do not have their full amount of water. The water in the vase or container can quickly become a bacteria soup. All it takes is a few stray pieces of plant tissue and some latent bacteria. Add some sugar from the preservative and you’ve got a recipe for cloudy, smelly water. The problem is not just an aesthetic one. Bacteria in the water will form plugs in the stem of the flower, blocking the water from flowing through the stem of the flower. A good floral preservative contains an antibacterial agent to stop all of this from happening.

Most packets are 5 gram packets which make one pint of solution. Most average vases hold at least one quart of water. If you do not follow the instructions for mixing the vase solution, and end up making a solution that is too weak, you may be providing enough sugar to grow bacteria while not providing enough antibacterial agents to stop the growth. This is a case where clear water with no preservative would be better than an improperly mixed solution. As soon as you notice that the water in your vase has started to become cloudy, it’s time to dump the water, rinse the stems, give them a clean cut and put them back in the cleaned vase with fresh water. This alone will double the life of your flowers.

Unfortunately, some flower distributors believe that the consumer’s initial perception is all that matters. They believe that the most important factor when choosing a preservative packet to distribute with their flowers is the price. They will not spend the extra three to five cents to provide the 10gram packet that should be provided. Instead, they believe that the consumer will be satisfied with any packet because they do not know any better. That shortsighted view means that consumer’s overall perception of flowers is that they do not last as long as they should, and the water gets dirty and smelly very quickly. In the long-run, these consumers may turn to alternate gift ideas other than flowers, and this hurts the floral industry as a whole.