©2018 Mahoning Valley Water Inc.  Flower Preservation      It is customary in our society (and many others) to give gifts to our hosts and hostesses when we’ve been invited to celebrate with them.   We often bring bottles of wine, fresh flower arrangements or plants, boxes of candy, or baskets of fruit.  This is a very nice way to say thank you.  Also, when we are hosting an event, we often fill the house with fresh cut flowers.  There is something very warm and homey about the colors and scents of flowers.       Flowers are, however, fairly expensive, so we want to be able to keep them looking their very best for as long as we possibly can.  We have some tips for you on keeping your flowers fresh and beautiful.      According to the University of Vermont Department of Plant and Soil Science, the biggest factor that impacts the longevity of fresh cut flowers is the pH of the water.  Flowers thrive best at a pH level of 3.0—5.5.  The lower pH deters the growth of microorganisms which clog plant stems and flowers take up acid water a lot more quickly.  Floral preservatives also work better.      Mr. Roy Snow of United Flower Growers says that high TDS (total dissolved solids) also can shorten the life of fresh flowers.  TDS below 200 ppm is considered desirable for vase flowers.  When TDS is high, it indicates that there are high osmotic concentrations of soluble salts and the flower expends more energy to take up the solution, thus reducing vase life.  In addition, a high TDS will mean that more preservative will be required to lower the pH of the water.       Some elements in the water, such as fluorides, can also injure flowers.  Mr. Snow recommends the use of reverse osmosis water for fresh flowers.  Mr. Michael Reid, Postharvest Biologist at the University of California, also recommends reverse osmosis water as the basis for preparing floral solutions.      Flower preservatives contain acidifiers to reduce pH and sugars to feed the flowers.  Preservatives are a must for cut flowers.  If you do not have any commercial preservatives handy, you can mix equal amounts of water and lemon-lime soda.  The lemon-lime soda will reduce the pH and is a good source of sugar for the flowers.  Aspirins have little or no effect.       Always keep the water clean.  It should be changed every 3 – 4 days.  The water should be cool— the cooler the better as long as it’s not freezing.  Also, the cooler the air temperature the better, because less water is lost and less sugar is depleted.      Moisture content in the air is another factor to take into consideration.  The higher the humidity, the less transpiration (loss of water through the leaves) occurs.      Following these tips will increase the life of your flowers and remember, your flowers will love you for it. MAHONING VALLEY WATER