What’s in those little sachets?

Ever wanted to know what’s in those little packets that are often included in quality cut flower bunches? AND do they make a difference to the longevity of your cut flowers?

Recently I was given some beautiful cut flowers (like many other Mums for Mothers Day) with the flowers presented as a bunch and attached to the very eye-catching and cleverly wrapped flowers was a little packet of ‘cut flower food’. This prompted me to question, do they really work? and just what is flower food?

From my investigations I have found that YES, these sachets do contain some vital ingredients to help keep flowers looking good for longer. The products have been specifically created to enhance the vase life of cut flowers (there may be slight differences between brands), however most products have similar core ingredients which are:

  • Nutrients – often these are found as sugars that will help maintain the colour and strength of the flowers.
  • Acid – this lowers the pH of the water. A common acid that is used is a weak hydroxycarballylic acid.
  • Water absorption promotors – a class of compounds that enhances the stem’s ability to ‘drink’ or take up water.
  • Water softeners – some products include this, but not all.

Most of us do not understand the full benefits of using supplied flower food mainly due I guess, to there being no actual physical change to the water when it is added, so we become sceptical and think it’s all a ruse! Coupled with the fact that the water needs to be changed regularly and there is usually only ONE packet of flower food supplied, you think WHAT, how does this work? If florists perhaps supplied enough little packets of flower food (bearing in mind that most vase water needs to be changed every three to four days) and yes, some flowers do last longer than others naturally which would need to be taken into account, perhaps we would treat these little packets with more respect and actually use them accordingly.

Floralife (a company who make a commercial flower food often supplied by florists) has some guidelines on how to care for cut flowers.

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