Simply Science: Making your Valentine's Day flowers last

7:23 PM, Feb 15, 2013   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS - Many of us lucky girls and guys received flowers for Valentine's Day... but while the love can last forever, the flowers will not.

We've set up an experiment to test the home remedy versus flower food.

The packets of flower food have three main duties:

"To help the water travel up the stem, to nourish it with sugar, and a bacteria agent to keep the water clean," says Jake Ziebarth of Len Busch Roses.

To help the water travel up the stem, the flowers need some acid, which lowers the pH of the water and makes molecules  more hydrophilic, meaning they tend to stick together more. This is what encourages hydration by keeping the stem continually drawing up water.

Next they need sugar for food. Plants produce sugar through photosynthesis, but when a flower is cut from the plant, photosynthesis no longer happens.

And third, they need something in the water to keep bacteria and debris from clogging up the cut end of the stem which blocks water and nutrients from travelling up to the bloom.

Ziebarth adds, "Be sure to cut your stems on an angle, so the stems don't sit flat on the bottom of the vase, where bacteria collect."

It's not enough to have each of these components... the ratio of them is important too.

We're testing 5 different solutions to see which works the best.

Vase #1: Just water

Vase #2: Half the flower food recommended on the package

Vase #3: Double the recommended amount.

Vase #4: Flower food in the proper amounts, as stated on the package.

Vase #5: Our home remedy that has some sprite, which contains citric acid and sugar. and we're adding a splash of bleach to combat bacteria.

Our experiment will continue as long as these flowers are alive... Follow the progress on our Facebook and Twitter pages over the next week or two to see how they compare. And PLEASE show us your home remedies!












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