- Kenyon Growers Updates
- October 11, 2010
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One of the most frequently asked questions in the cut flower industry is of course “How long will my flowers last?”
There are many factors that come into play with the longevity of most cut floral items, but the top requirements for care and handling of fresh flowers is the “3-R’s”.
When product is brought in from the fields at Kenyon Growers, it most often cut in the early mornings when the heat of the day doesn’t dehydrate the cut stems and flower heads.
We attempt to immediately cool down the product by placing the stems in water treated with a floral preservative specially designed for woody stems, and placing the buckets in the coolers at a temperature between 34 and 40 degrees F.
Once the flowers have been cooled, we then process and grade stems followed by bunching the items, and once again give a new fresh cut to the stem and place back in the water and then on to the cooler.
Most product that is shipped from Kenyon Growers is done so in boxes with jell-ice to help maintain a cooler condition until the product reaches it’s destination.
Several important steps should be done at the point the flowers are received and that is to follow the 3-Rs once again.
For the home care of cut flowers:
Re-cut the stems first
Some older thought for woody stems is to crush the stem with a hammer, but this is actually contrary to logic and the physiology of the xylem in the stems. Crushing actually closes off the straw like tubes that draw water and nutrients up the stem to the flower. The best type of cut is a diagonal clean knife cut which leaves little damage to the stem .
Place the freshly cut stems immediately in fresh water with a floral preservative.
One is to add a few drops of chlorine bleach to the water. This prevents bacteria from growing which would eventually plug up the stems. A weak sugar solution can be used then to “feed” the flower to continue it’s opening of the buds.
Another home option is adding a regular aspirin to the water. This makes a weak acid which also inhibits bacteria growth.
Yet another option is to use plain old 7-up soda to the water. The carbonic acid in the soda combined with the sugar water is a great solution for keeping the flowers fresh.
One must take care to switch out the water/soda solution every few days because the solution will in time attract fruit flies and bacteria will find it’s way in.
For healthy plants that last long, remember the 3-R’s!
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