Flower bouquets and vase arrangements are beautiful so it’s important to take proper care of your flowers. Cutting the stems and changing water everyday can greatly improve the overall freshness of your arrangements. Another way to increase the life of fresh flowers is to use flower food sachets, which are commonly provided by professional florists.
To prove the benefits, we conducted an experiment comparing fresh cut flowers with Floralife® flower food sachets in water and fresh cut flowers in water only to see if using flower food helped extend the life of cut flowers. There are three main ingredients in flower food preservatives which are essential to fresh flowers – carbohydrate (sugar), an acidifier to the pH, and bleach which acts as a biocide to help diminish any bacteria and fungi. We selected red roses for our test, however bear in mind that different coloured roses and types of fresh cut flowers have various life cycles, as well as flowers from different flower farms and hence, may require different care.
For our test we used:
- 10 x glass vases
- 3 x bunches of fresh roses
- 5 x sachets of Floralife flower food
- Fresh water
External conditions were kept the same; both kept out of the fridge, out of direct sunlight, and the water was not changed for the length of the test. The goal was to demonstrate if there is a benefit to using preservative sachets on cut flowers.
1) Gathered three bunches of fresh red roses, a total of 30 roses and 10 clean glass vases.
2) Filled five of the vases with plain water and the other five with the Floralife® preservative. We used one Floralife® flower food sachet in each vase and labelled each one.
3) We dethorned, cut and placed a rose from each bunch into a vase, making sure that each vase contained three roses, one from each of the three bunches. We kept each vase in the same place out of direct sunlight.
4) We then monitored the flowers each day taking notes and photos over a period of 14 days.
For the first week every single one of the 30 stems were still standing perfectly straight and no wilting was visible. By day 8, we noticed three of the rose heads in plain water start to change colour to a deep red. The water in fresh water vases also started turning a pale yellow. The water with flower food remained clear and each flower head was still bright red.
By day 9, one of the fresh water rose heads in vase 5 had completely drooped and two other stems in vase 3 started to droop. The petals of the 15 roses in fresh water started to darken and the water continued to turn yellow.
The vases with flower food continued to perform well however a few rose heads in vase 2 and vase 3 started to darken.
On day 10, half of the rose heads in fresh water had started to turn a dark shade of maroon and their heads wilted. In comparison only four of the flowers with flower food (vase 2, 3, 4) started to darken in appearance but the rose heads were still upright.
By day 12 all the roses in fresh water had wilted and turned a reddish black colour. The roses in preservative were deteriorating but at a slower rate. At the end of the experiment at day 14 only eleven out of the fifteen roses in flower food water had completely wilted and turned a dark reddish colour.
Results – Vase Life
Fresh water had an average vase life of 10 days whereas flower food had an average vase life of 13 days.
|Fresh Water||Water Plus Flower Food|
|Average Vase Life||10||13|
We found that over a period of two weeks, fresh cut flowers in Floralife® flower food water lasted on average 3 days longer than flowers in fresh water only. Not only did they last longer but they also kept their shape and colour longer than the fresh cut roses in fresh water. As each day went on, the roses in fresh water started to darken and wilt, while the roses in preservative water remained upright with their original colour in tact.
It’s fair to say that using flower food, at least on our red roses, prolonged the life of the cut flowers and slowed down the growing process. The reason it works is Floralife® contains sugar which helps provide energy and nutrients to the flowers, an acidifier which maintains the waters pH level and assists with the water update of the flowers, and lastly bleach which helps prevent bacteria and fungi from growing.
We understand that there are other ways you can improve and extend the life of fresh flowers however for this experiment we needed to keep the conditions the same and only focus on the difference between water and water with flower food preservative sachets. By changing the water regularly, keeping them out of direct sunlight and placing flowers in the fridge over night can greatly improve the vase life of cut flowers. Remember that the type of care you apply to fresh cut flowers depends heavily on the type and colour of the flower you have.
And remember, when professional florists include a flower food preservative sachet with your fresh flowers, make sure you use it. Both you and your flowers will benefit from it over the coming days.
To calculate the average vase life we recorded the number of days each flower lasted. A flower was counted as dead once the rose head completely drooped. When all roses were dead we averaged out the vase life for each vase. We then averaged out the vase life across all 5 fresh water vases and all 5 vases with flower food preservatives which gave us the results above.
Keep in mind the following factors also plays a key role in the longevity of each freshly cut flower: how well the chain of care is administered from preharvest to postharvest, the type of flower and where they are farmed. Regardless of these factors, using flower food does benefit the flower and extend its vase life.