The best way to keeping cut flowers alive is a topic to which many “old wives tales” have been devoted. Among the prevailing theories:
- Vodka supposedly stops the production of the chemical that causes wilting.
- Copper in a penny prevents bacteria.
- Bleach prevents deadly mold.
- Sugar replicates the rush that occurs during photosynthesis, giving the bloom a surge of energy.
And the list goes on. But for all the science, rumors, theories and online chatter on how to extend the “life” of cut flowers, the last place I expected to gain some cold hard facts was my local supermarket where a 6-day experiment yielded some really interesting results.
My local Foodtown’s “8th Annual Tulip Test” placed ten flowers in the same conditions, with additives being the only variable. Those additives ranged from lemon juice to Sweet’N Low to Red Bull – yes, Red Bull!. I encountered the experiment on Day 6, and the results surprised me. The tulip with sugar added to its water wasn’t the tallest, but was by far the best bloom. Red Bull, of all things, came in a close second, with pure lemon juice right behind and then for those diet conscious tulip-lovers, Sweet’N Low! Bleach, copper pennies and aspiring seemed to hasten the flowers demise. And what about the flowers fed with the pre-packaged “plant-food”? While these were the tallest, they were clearly not as bright and fresh as those fed with sugar, Red Bull or lemon Juice.
I’m not pouring Red Bull in a watering can anytime soon, but I will play around with these to see how they affect the flowers I set out in vases this spring. Try the same. Or, if your heart can take it, separate a bouquet of Valentine’s Roses and host your own flower test – and tell us about YOUR results!