25 Jul 2010

Floral Preservative – Don’t Skip It

Iris Abstract

[Iris Abstract]

Unless you are using primarily tropicals or orchids, one simple tip to increase fresh-cut flower longevity is using the proper portion of floral preservative and water.  Grab a few extra packets at the floral vendor.  One packet is never enough and will make a weak solution that will actually accelerate flower demise.  Typically, the packets make a half-quart solution, and your average vase is one quart in volume.  This means you will probably need at least two packets.  Look at the back of the packet, it should tell you how much volume of water to use, so take the time to pick-up enough bags of preservative to accommodate your container.  Using too little preservative is worse than using nothing at all, so if you don’t have enough preservative, it’s better to use none.  If you have extra solution, use it to top off your water level or for water changes throughout the week.

What is floral preservative and what does it do?
Floral preservative is usually a concoction of sugar, a mild acid, and an antibacterial agent or biocide. Fresh-cut flowers need acidic water, food (sugar), and the prevention of bacteria build-up (the biocide). Basically, floral preservative meets all those needs in a balanced formula and in my own home-tests, it increased vase-life by a week or more.

Making your own floral preservative solution:
Considering how convenient and full-proof it is to use commercial preservative, I really would not waste my time making a home-made preservative; but if you absolutely must, you can mix 1 part (1 can) of regular lemon-lime soda (this provides sugar and citric acid), 3 equal parts of water, and a tablespoon of bleach (the biocide).  You’ll need to scale those proportions to the volume of your container.  If the concoction only fills a quarter of your container, you can’t fill the remainder with water and expect good results because you will make a weak solution.

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