4 Common Mistakes When Using Flower Food and How to Avoid Them
Flowers, with their exquisite colors and captivating fragrances, have the magical ability to light up our lives and elevate any occasion. Whether you’re decorating your home or designing a special event, maintaining the freshness and vibrancy of cut flowers is of paramount importance. This is where the often underestimated hero of flower care comes into play—flower food.
In this guide, we will explore the following:
- Why you should give your cut blooms flower food
- The four common mistakes when using flower food
- The myths surrounding flower food (and the actual truth)
- Which is better: DIY or commercial flower food?
- Tips for using flower food
The Role of Flower Food
Flower food is like a secret elixir that keeps your cut flowers looking their best. It’s a specialized solution consisting of essential components, including carbohydrates, acids to control pH levels, and biocides to inhibit bacterial growth.
The carbohydrates serve as a source of sustenance for the flowers, similar to how a hearty meal sustains us. Meanwhile, the acid helps stems absorb more water, ensuring that the flowers stay hydrated and fresh. The biocides act as protectors, warding off harmful microorganisms that can cause your blossoms to prematurely decay and wilt.
These three comprise the essence of flower food, nourishing your blooms and extending their vase life.
The 4 Common Mistakes in Flower Care
Unfortunately, even with the best intentions, flower enthusiasts can make mistakes when using flower food, inadvertently shortening the life of their arrangement. Let’s explore some of these pitfalls:
- Overdosing - You might think giving your flowers more flower food will make them last longer, but overdosing can be counterproductive. Excessive nutrients can damage the stems and leaves, causing premature wilting.
- Underdosing - On the flip side, underdosing with flower food means not giving your flowers enough nourishment. This can result in the stems and leaves becoming discolored, the buds not opening into a full bloom, and the petals and leaves turning limp.
- Bacterial growth - Many beginners think that since the flower food they added to the vase water has biocides, they don’t need to change out the water for a while. Even with flower food, you still need to change the water in the vase every 2 to 3 days.
- Poor water quality - There are several factors that impact water quality: pH level, total dissolved solids, and hardness. Flowers thrive in slightly acidic conditions (pH 3 to 5), which is why flower food has an acidic component. If you forgot to add acid to your DIY flower food, then your blooms might not be able to absorb enough nutrients.
Avoiding these common mistakes will help you keep your floral arrangements fresh and vibrant for a long time.
Flower Food Myths
Aside from knowing the common mistakes when using flower food, it’s also important to debunk some myths about it:
- The more sugar, the better - Some believe that adding excessive sugar to the vase water will keep the flowers fresher for longer. While this might work for some flowers, too much sugar can be detrimental to other blooms.
- Home remedies are effective - Another misconception is that home remedies—copper pennies, aspirin, soda, white wine, bleach, or lemonade—are as effective as commercially available products. While some DIY solutions can work well, you shouldn’t believe in every recipe you find.
Understanding these myths will help you make informed choices when caring for your floral arrangements.
DIY vs. Commercial Flower Food
You may be wondering whether to opt for DIY flower food or commercial ones. Each has its advantages and considerations:
- DIY flower food - Crafting your own flower food can be a cost-effective and environmentally friendly choice. However, using the wrong dosage may harm your floral arrangement instead of help.
- Commercial flower food - There are numerous flower food products on the market, each designed for specific floral varieties. Just make sure to use the correct type for your floral arrangement.
Flower Food Tips for Effective Flower Care
To ensure your cut blooms stay fresh and vibrant, here are some valuable tips for using flower food correctly and extending the longevity of your floral arrangements:
- Right sugar concentration - If you want to make your own flower food, you need to understand the sugar needs of your specific flowers. Baby’s breath, for example, only needs 3 teaspoons of sugar per quart of water, while gladiolus flowers require 8 to 12 teaspoons.
- Matching the neediest flower - With mixed arrangements, use flower food that’s suitable for the most sugar-needy flower in the vase. Roses usually need the most carbohydrates among other flowers and foliage in a bouquet.
- Water and vase size - adjust the amount of flower food based on the size of your vase. This ensures your flowers receive the right nourishment.
- Removing deteriorating flowers - Even with the right amount of flower food and overall care, some flowers die sooner than others. Regularly inspect your arrangements and remove deteriorating flowers to prevent the spread of decay.
- Preventing leaf yellowing - When using flower food, be cautious with the sugar content to prevent leaf yellowing, especially with certain flowers like lilies. If you have a mixed arrangement, consider separating any flower or foliage that’s yellowing and putting them in a different vase.
Don’t Be Afraid of Using Flower Food
The beauty of your floral arrangements depends on your understanding of flower food and the care you provide. By avoiding common mistakes and making informed choices, you can ensure your flowers will remain fresh for an extended period. These tips for effective flower care are your key to creating lasting and enchanting floral displays.
And if you want an easier way to care for your beloved arrangements, there’s a vase for that. With the Amaranth Vase, you just have to twist it to drain out the water and twist further to separate the lower part of the vase so you can gain access to the stems. Shop our collection now.