Located in the Care and Handling section of our website, Floralife Research Updates are a valuable source of flower knowledge. Our goal is to help growers, transporters, wholesalers and retailers get the most from their investment, and present healthy, long-lasting flowers to the consumer. Let’s take a look at a care and handling essay, “Mix Flower Food Solutions Properly for Maximum Vase Life.”
This Research Update, by Terril Nell, Ph.D., AAF, Professor Emeritus at the University of Florida Environmental Horticulture Department, asks and answers the following questions:
- What does a flower need to open?
- What does a flower food do?
- What happens if the flower food is improperly mixed?
So, let’s go down the list!
What does a flower need to open? It starts with water and sugar. Prior to harvest, the flower employs photosynthesis to make the sugars it needs, and draws water from the soil through the roots. The two mix and distribute to the flowers and leaves. This nutrition helps cells to expand, which leads to flower opening. After harvest, when the sugar runs out or when the water supply is cut off, that’s when the vase life clock starts ticking. And this is where flower food comes in.
What does a flower food do? After harvest, the flower gets its hydration from water and energy from sugars in vase solutions. Flower foods accelerate water uptake and provide sugars to supplement stored sugars in the leaves and flowers. They also help reduce cloudiness in the vase water and to lower the solution’s pH level, both of which will help water to be absorbed by cut flowers. Flower food formulations help provide the correct balance of components when mixed properly.
What happens if the flower food is improperly mixed? Floral pros sometimes ask whether it is really important to mix the flower food solution as recommended. It can be tempting to use a little less to stretch your supply and save money. Or, you may think that if using the recommended amount is good, then using more should be even better. Well, Floralife’s Research department put these notions to the test!
In the test conducted for the Research Update, they placed roses, delphinium and snapdragons in Floralife Crystal Clear® flower food solutions that were 25% and 50% (too weak,) 100% (just right,) and 200% and 400% (too strong) of recommended dose. Bottom line? Vase life improved between 6 and 9 days when using the proper dose of flower food.
So, too little flower food isn’t nearly as effective. Too much causes stem burn and reduces vase life. “Just right” is the way to go.
Whether you are a grower, transporter, wholesaler or retailer, vase life matters! So why not use the proper mixture of flower food to improve your results? There is much more in the Research Update, so check it out! How about you? Have you ever used too little flower food in your solutions? Too much? What did you see? Let us know in the comments below!