In our previous post, we talked about why flower deliveries are on the rise. If you’ve recently received flowers, you’re likely hoping to hold onto their fresh, beautiful look for as long as possible, right?
Before you go to your favorite social media or search engine for tips on how to keep your flowers fresh, there are some common myths that we should cover (and maybe even dispel) before you take a look. It may come as a surprise, but some of these farfetched solutions for long-lasting cut flowers actually could work.
Common Ways to Extend the Life of Fresh Flowers: Fact or Fairy Tale?
Before we jump in, it’s important to address the elephant in the room: some of these myths we’ll look at are still widely believed to be successful by some and totally bogus by others. We’ve done our research (and have plenty of experience), but you can ultimately be the judge on how to lengthen the life of your next floral arrangement.
One of the most common home remedies we hear of is to drop a penny in the water at the bottom of the vase. While it is true that copper has some pretty potent antimicrobial properties, it is by no means the most potent or effective method of preventing bacterial growth in water. Also, any penny made since 1982 is only about 2.5 percent copper, with the rest being composed of zinc. Lastly, even if you have a pre-1982 penny ready to go, the germs on the penny itself will likely be more potent than the bacteria within your home’s tap water. We call this one a complete myth.
While not as commonly used as it was a few generations ago, most U.S. households likely still have a jug of bleach around for various cleaning purposes. While bleach is a much more effective cleaning solution for water than copper would be, it also features a much higher pH level, meaning it makes the water acidic. Additionally, “bleach” is something of a catch-all term for a compound of chemicals that can be arranged in a different formation by various companies, brands, and even varieties. So, it would be tough to know exactly what effect your bleach would have on flowers, as not all bleaches are created equal. One benefit bleach will offer is crystal-clear, largely bacteria-free water inside the vase, but there is no guarantee that this will translate to healthy or long-lasting flowers. We call this a “maybe” on the myth scale.
Soda / Sugar in the Water
One very old solution is to add a bit of soda (or pop, as some call it) to the vase. Other variations of this myth include using various other sweeteners, such as table sugar, to create something of a glucose solution for your cut flowers to enjoy. If you cut the flowers yourself, this could add a bit of time to your arrangement; note, however, that you’ll need an anti-bacterial agent as the sweetened water will promote bacterial growth. However, nearly any ordered or delivery flowers will come with a packet of “plant food” that will likely serve the same purpose. Doubling up on that sugar level could potentially cause some harm. So, we call this a myth that pre-dates plant food packets or potentially okay for flowers from the garden in combination with an anti-bacterial solution.
Removing Leaves or Thorns
This is an interesting one If you want the longest-lasting cut flowers possible, you must remove any leaves that fall below the waterline. Read differently, never fill your water above, or to, the lowest leaves on professionally-cut flower stems. However, it is also important that the leaves and thorns above the waterline are still present, as they can act as a “pulling” force to help water make its way up the stem and to the flowering buds you’re trying to nurture. So, the verdict here is to only remove the lowest leaves or thorns (if any) and be sure to keep any that are higher up. As far as the myth goes, we rate it “sometimes” true.
Another common myth we hear is that water temperatures are critical. This one is a bit silly, as any temperature you choose for the water in your vase will eventually become room temperature anyhow. Still, you can do some damage to your flowers in a short amount of time with water that is too hot or too cold. We typically recommend lukewarm or tepid water, as it will more quickly settle at room temperature, which is always ideal. Extreme temperatures are unsuitable and should be avoided. When it comes to the hot water suggestions we see online, we call this one a complete myth.
Cut Flower Quality > Cut Flower Care
There are some folks out there that claim nearly any care for cut flowers is near-meaningless next to the presence of low-quality flowers. There actually could be some truth to this one, although we’d say that cut flower care still matters quite a bit. In our experience, most of the cut flower’s lifespan will likely be determined well before it hits your vase. The way the flower is cut and paired with other elements of the arrangement, for instance, will have a massive impact on how long that flower will stay beautiful on your table. Flowers arranged and delivered by Nancy’s will always come properly cut and prepared to give you the longest window of enjoyment possible. That’s our Happiness Guaranteed promise!
Share Your Thoughts
In general, the best thing we’ve found that you can do for your flowers is to get them from the pros. If you have any questions or home remedies you swear by, feel free to reach out and chat with us about them. We’re proud to have over 40 years of experience delivering flowers in the Portland area, but we’ve by no means heard it all yet — so share your tips next time you call or come in!
Until then, we look forward to your next Portland flower delivery order! You can shop for your next arrangement here.