Next time you’re at the grocery store buying citrus drinks for the kids, be sure to take more for those cut flowers you have growing in a vase in the living room. It may sound strange at first blush, but it is true that drinks like 7 Up and Sprite can offer a big boost to your cut flowers.
According to floriculturists, the mixture of soda and water in proper proportions keeps cut flowers fresh because the concoction gives the flowers the water and nutrients they need.
Why Citrus And Water Keep Flowers Fresh
When a flower is cut to become part of a bouquet, the stem is separated from the roots. So the flower can’t make food for itself. It has to rely on its environment for nutrients. Citrus drinks like 7 Up and Sprite offer acidic water that flows up the stem of the flower quicker then neutral or basic water. This assures that the flower stays hydrated and fresh. However, it’s not just water. It is sugar too. One can of 7 Up or Sprite is loaded with citric acid. It lowers the pH and increases the acidity of the liquid. It also includes nearly 38 grams of sugar.
Although it is true that sugar and water freshens cut flowers, it is also true that the mixture can generate bacterial growth that can impair the flower. To remedy this, horticulturists recommend the addition of bleach. A little bleach kills bacteria but does not harm the flower.
Some horticulturists suggest blending one can of water for every can of 7 Up or Sprite and dump it into a vase. Other horticulturists favor three cans of water for every one can of soda as well as a few drops of bleach to kill the bacteria.
Vodka Works Too
A splash of vodka works too. It does because it inhibits ethylene production. Ethylene is a gas that plants emit to help them mature. Hampering the gas slows the wilting process. Still, plants can tolerate only about 8 percent concentrations of alcohol. So you have to dilute it. An alternative is to use a preservative called silver thiosulfate. It also limits ethylene.
Other Ways To Keep Cut Flowers Fresh
Other strategies one can use to assure that cut flowers last longer include cutting off about one-half inch to one inch of the stem when the flowers arrive. This blocks air from being sucked into the stem and blocking the plant’s uptake system. The action also removes bacteria that might be growing at the end of the stem.
Horticulturists recommend that about every three days you cut another inch from the bottom of the stem. In addition, put the cut flowers in a clean vase of fresh water and plant food and place the vase in a bright and cool location.
Of course, in the long run you can’t beat Mother Nature. No matter how hard you try, the flowers will wilt over time. When this occurs, pluck out the dead flowers so that the remaining flowers of the bouquet can continue on looking fresh.
(Source: Scientific American.com)