The History of Flower Giving

The giving of flowers goes back thousands of years to all the ancient cultures, including the Chinese, Egyptian, Greek and Roman civilizations. It has always been a way for people to communicate gratitude, affection, respect or admiration. In addition, in the ancient mythology that depicts old customs, flowers were invariably a part of people’s stories and legends. The practice of giving flowers later flourished when European travelers discovered in Turkey what many flowers were named, giving rise to whole new meanings revolving, again, around love, appreciation, respect, and much more.

Flowers that Energize You All Day Long

Is there anything more uplifting than having a great arrangement of flowers in a vase in a strategic spot in your kitchen or living room? Even when you are by yourself at home, you’re not really alone, for your flowers energize you all day long. Naturally, each size and shape of vase has an optimal density and height of flowers, highlighting the flowers and not so much the vase itself. But you knew that!

Flower Care: Myths or True Facts?

Surely you’ve heard the old tip about dumping a copper coin in the vase with your beautiful flowers. That story is correct, for copper is a fungicide that clears the water in your vase from an accumulation of fungi and pesticides. How about placing flowers in warm water? That one is also correct, providing you use it correctly. Warm water doesn’t help in keeping your flowers hydrated, but it does better restore your wilted flowers, and it does help in keeping air bubbles from forming and preventing proper water uptake (warm water can range from 110-140ºF). And what about aspirin? Aspiring also does help. As an acid, it keeps the bacteria in your vase from over-multiplying.

Common Sense Measures for Flower Care

Caring for flowers makes more sense when you remember that cut flowers are still alive and have ongoing needs. By providing for such needs, you can prolong their life and splendor beyond normal expectations. Like any other live organisms, your flowers need nutrition, water and an environment free of other proliferating organisms such as  bacteria and fungi. If you have just received a flower arrangement, then the first thing to do is to unpack the flower sand allow them to breathe for a little while. You may then further extend their life by putting them in the fridge for 3 or 4 hours before arranging them.

Flower Care: Ensuring Proper Water Uptake

Hydration takes place when water uptake, i.e. the water that passes through the stem tubes, is allowed to flow without obstructions. A natural obstruction can occur when cut stems are left in the open, thus forming air bubbles in the water-conducting channels of the stems, blocking water uptake. Other blockages can occur when the vase was used recently, leaving behind bacteria that can flourish again. Bacteria and fungi such as Botrytis are highly undesirable, and what many people do is to sanitize scissors, work surfaces and vases before cutting. In order to keep the water in the vase as clean as possible, you would also do well to remove the excess foliage below where you estimate your waterline will be in the vase.

Four Additional Tips for General Flower Care

  1. For nutrients, you may use the little packet that comes with boxed flowers or bouquets. Alternatively, use commercial flower preservatives, or let your flowers absorb sugar nutrients from a little Seven-Up or a small quantity of bleach (which also inhibits the growth of bacteria).
  2. This sugar that is a good source of food for your plant is also conducive to the proliferation of bacteria. In mixing from floral preservatives, measure carefully to ensure that you provide sufficient biocide to offset the sugar. If you are using powdered nutrients, dissolve them in warm water before adding them to the vase.
  3. How much water to put with your flowers in the vase? About six inches from the bottom of the stems is good enough. Ideally, the water should be as pure as possible, with a pH of 3.5 to 4.5. In addition, using lukewarm water (110-140ºF) will not only remove air bubbles, but it will also prompt your flowers to develop and blossom.
  4. Cut the stems of your flowers by about an inch or more and change the water every 2 or 3 days and keep your vase in a cool spot away from sunlight and heat. To expose the maximum area of stem to nutrients and water, it is best to cut your stems at a 45º angle and under water, thus avoiding the formation of new air bubbles.

Justin Chung