These are a few handy hints on how
to make sure your flowers stay alive a lot longer. As long as you
try and eliminate as many of these external factors as possible,
your flowers will last much longer.
When flowers are exposed to heat, they respire at a greater rate
than at lower temperatures. Respiration is basically what causes
ageing in most living organisms. Flowers have high rates of
respiration, making them one of the most perishable of all
agricultural crops. The cooler the room or location they are
displayed, the longer they will last.
Cold conditions below 4 degrees Celsius
Conversely, actual internal flower cells can easily become damaged
if subjected to very low temperatures. Flowers grown in tropical
areas, such as Orchids and Anthuriums, are particularly susceptible
to low temperature damage. Never put your flowers in a freezer or
anywhere that is below 4 degrees Celsius.
Draughty positions are also unfavourable spots to locate your
flowers. The petals tend to dry out and respire more quickly in
these areas. A corner position preferable to a hallway or near open
Flowers which are subjected to direct sunlight can easily become
overheated, resulting in an increased rate of respiration and the
drying out of petals etc, leading to reduced vase life.
It has been noted that usually with air conditioning (especially in
large offices or stores), fresh flowers tend to dry out very
quickly. This is particularly the case with flowers that have large,
Ripening fruit and vegetables
Perhaps one of the biggest enemies of cut flowers is ethylene gas
which is given off by ripening fruit and vegetables. It speeds up
the dying process of many flowers. Some of the more sensitive
varieties to ethylene gas are Carnations, Roses, Orchids, Lilies,
Sweet Williams and Gypsophila.
Crushing or splitting of flower stems
Unfortunately in the past, many people have been led to believe that
the crushing or splitting of flower stems is a good way of extending
their vase life. Recent tests have shown that this method generally
does not work. It actually does tremendous damage to the tiny
tube-like vessels in the stems, blocking the flow of water up to the
flower heads, and leads to a faster discoloration of the vase water.
Other dead flowers
When flowers are arranged in a vase, some of the flower heads will
naturally die before others. It is a good idea to remove these heads
quickly, because if left on the stems, they not only look unsightly,
but will often give off small amounts of ethylene gas, which will
diminish the life of any remaining flowers.
Dirty water provides a perfect breeding ground for microscopic
bacteria to breed rapidly. These bacteria attach themselves to the
stem ends and block the flow of water up to the flower heads. You
should always change the vase water regularly or use a good cut
flower food which will decrease the rate at which these bacteria
Metal containers can cause reactions with many flower preservatives.
This can lead to the preservative being far less effective in