cut flower preservation

Ivan ivanlet at
Wed Oct 9 01:23:49 EST 1996

murray baron wrote:
> I discovered that certain food-colourings, when added to the water in which certain cut flowers were added, preserved the life of the
> petals.  What is known about preseverving cut flowers?  What determines how long a flower will continue to survive in a vase  of
> water?
> Murray Baron
> Dept. of Medicine
> McGill University
> cxdb at

There are three elements in affecting the vase life of cut flowers:
	1. The condition of the flowers. The flowers need to be picked ideally when cool, placed quickly in 
clean water (see below), kept cool 5-10'C. untill needed. Growers usully add compounds that will inhibit 
ethylene, a naturally occuring chemical that promotes ageing (or ripening of fruit)
	2. The condition of the water. Bacteria in the water (usually contaminated by a dirty vase) will block 
the cells in the stem neccessary for water uptake. Answer is to wash vases in bleach first, leaving a little 
in the vase when you fill it.
	3. The conditions in the home. Flower food (best is sparkling lemonade) should be half the contents 
along with water in the vase. This should be replaced regularly along with cutting the stems. The flowers 
should be placed in a light, cool and  airy part of the home.

Maybe the food colouring you used had chemicals in that did some of the above e.g. bactericide.

Let me know how you get on.

Regards Ivan.

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