One thing I get told on a fairly regular basis is: 'your flowers always last so much longer than others!'. This is music to my ears! But why would mine last longer than any others? There are a few reasons - mainly that I use only fresh water and steer clear of floral foam in my day to day work (find out why here) and source my flowers directly from the market.
I've often wondered if water is really enough for cut flowers though - it seems every blog I read or floral website I visit insists that you MUST use and/or supply 'flower food' with your cut flowers. You know the stuff, those little colourful packets of clumpy white stuff that you tip into your vase. What exactly is it? A little mixture of bleach, sugar and citric acid. Easily made at home with stuff you more than likely have in the pantry! But is it really necessary?
I've always been on team 'clean the vase with bleach and use fresh tap water' and it has never proven me wrong, but I decided to try this little experiment just to see what would happen. Behold - 3 roses purchased on the 5th April.
On the left we have Rose 1 sitting in a vase with flower food, in the middle is Rose 2 with bleach in the water and Rose 3 is in just plain old tap water. Now, I cleaned all the bottles out with a bit of bleach before the experiment, and all the roses were cut on a nice clean angle. I decided to forget about caring for them (because lets be honest, that is normally what happens in their new homes) and only recut their stems once but never changed the water. This is what happened in the following weeks:
You can see that by the last week they were all looking pretty sad - Rose 2 was well and truly gone and Roses 1 & 3 were less than perfect. The results are pretty clear - flower food & tap water had the same deterioration rate. So then, flower food really isn't necessary if you start with a clean vase!
My main concern for not using those little packets is just that - they are tiny plastic packets and they just seem so wasteful when all they do is just contribute to landfill. The reason my flowers may last longer than others is because they come in a glass jar full of fresh, clean tap water.
My verdict: stick to water folks! Start with a clean vase and change your water daily. If you need your tight buds to open in time for a special event, a tiny bit of sugar in some warm water will force them open. You can find more tips in my previous blog post 'Love Those Blooms!'