Cut Flower Care – FAQ

At Grower Direct we have spent over two decades developing a system to ensure that our flowers travel from farm to our customers as quickly as possible and during that time receive the best TLC. However once they leave our stores they still require some care and attention. in the homes and offices of our customers. 

Why is it recommended that the flower stems be re-cut?

If cut flowers have been out of water (dry) for more than 30 minutes, they need to be re-cut before going into water. There are a number of reasons for doing this, including;

1) When the flower is cut from the mother plant by the grower, the flower treats the cut as a “wound” and seals it to prevent infections and drying out. This means that until the stem is re-cut that water uptake is decreased greatly or even prevented.

2) Wounds on the stem are an excellent food source for bacteria and large amounts of bacteria can in some flower varieties partially plug the stem preventing water uptake.

3) Foreign material, air bubbles, or simply drying out of the stem bottom  can plug up and block the initial cut and wound site. By cutting the bottom of the stem off these blockages are removed and water uptake is restored.

How should I cut the stem?

Always uses a clean sharp knife or a pair of flower shears rather than scissors as scissors can crush the stem and prevent water uptake.  In general the cleaner the cut the better it is for the flower. Cut off approximately the bottom 1″ of the stem.

Why do I need to use flower food?

When a flower is still attached to the mother plant it is receiving an ongoing supply of food, water, and growth hormones.This nourishment stops when the flower is cut. A good quality flower food such as Grower Direct Fresh Flower Power is formulated to provide what the flower requires to bloom and retain its form, colour, and scent.

How much should be used?

Grower Direct Fresh Flower Power is prepackaged in 10g envelopes, the perfect amount for 1 litre of water. Unfortunately many of our competitors choose to provide their customers with flower food packages that are only 5g ( just enough for 500ml of water) which is half the size of ours. Typically they do this in an effort to save a few pennies (literally a few pennies) but in reality end up “short changing”  the customer by not providing them with what is required to ensure maximum flower life. This is not a game we choose to play. In fact, our stores will supply you with an extra package if you request one. 

What does Grower Direct Fresh Flower Power actually contain?

Well, much like the formula for Coke the exact ingredients are Top Secret!
However we can tell you that the powder contains sucrose (food), an acidifier (balances PH), an inhibitor of bacteria, and an agent to draw our debris and improve water uptake.

If a little flower food helps so much, wouldn’t more be better?

NO! Flower food is designed to meet the requirements of cut flowers in the right proportions, too much or too little can and will generally be detrimental to your flowers. How so?

  • Overdosing; Using more than 150% of the recommended amount (say a package and a half per litre of water) can lead to stem discolouration and burnt leaves.
  • Underdosing; Using less than the recommended amount (say just 20% less) can lead to the following problems:
    • Delayed opening of buds, or lack of colour and scent development
    • Stem or leaf discolouration
    • Limp petals and leaves

 The bottom line is, follow the package directions for best results.

I have heard that there are a number of items around my home that I can use to make my flowers last longer?

 We’ve heard this too, but don’t believe it for a minute. There are a lot of old wives tales making the rounds about household products that will make your flowers last longer. The reality is that while bleach may take the stains out of your clothes it not something that will enhance your flowers. Over the years virtually every household concoction (Aspirin, Seven-Up, Bleach, even Viagara!) said to make flowers last longer has been tested on its own accord and in comparison to commercial flower food. The winner? Commercial flower food won hands down every time. So stick with flower food for your flowers, and the next time your white shirt has a nasty stain get out the bleach.

Why do flowers in a mixed bouquet bloom at different times?
  • Harvest Stage; Flowers are harvested at different stages of development depending on particular market requirements. Flower varieties like  Mums or Gerbs will seem to be further along than say varieties such as tulips or carnations. As they say, it’s the nature of the beast.
  • Vase Water Quality, Hygiene, and Nutrient Demand; The quality of the water the flowers are in plays a major role in development , bacteria or particulate laden water is a recipe for trouble right from the start as these conditions are unfavorable for the absorption of nutrients by the flowers. Certain flowers like roses or gladioli are harvested in the “bud stage” and as such seem to need more ‘nutrition” (flower food) to reach full development.
Why do most cut flower care instructions advise the removal of the leaves?

First, all of the leaves should not be removed, just those below the waterline. Why?
Once again to discourage the growth of bacteria, leaves left to soak in the water not only provide the ideal breeding ground for micro-organisms but contribute to the “bio-load” of the water as well.  However, it is important not to remove too many leaves as the leaves play an important role in water uptake, so to be safe, just remove those below the waterline.

Is it okay to remove the thorns from my roses?

Removing thorns is not something that we recommend as their removal results in “wounds” that are an invitation  to micro-organisms and bacterial infection.

Is there anything extra I can personally do to make my flowers last longer?

Well the first steps are simply following our cut flower care instruction, to the letter when possible. Yes, we realize at times they can be a pain, but trust us on this we have been doing it for years. A little preparation at the start will generally result in added days of life for your flowers. Here are a couple more tips

  • Always ensure your flowers are away from heat sources, direct sunlight, and drafts. All of these can have a detrimental effect on the life of your flowers
  • Check the water level daily, and add fresh water as needed. The water level will go down in your vase primarily due to your flowers “drinking” and ongoing evaporation.
  • Everyday remove any leaves that may have fallen into the water and any flowers that may have wilted (we hope there are none).
  • After 7-10 days, re-cut your flowers, wash your vase, and refill with fresh water and Grower Direct Fresh Flower Power flower food.
The necks of my roses are bent over, what can I do for this?

This is generally a result of the rose being harvested a little too early, something that will happen on occasion, unfortunately once that has occurred there is little that can be done to resolve the condition. Rose growers do their very best to ensure that the flower are cut at the optimum time, but it is a subjective call at best based on experience. So occasionally some stems are cut too soon. The main reason the neck bends is simple, the stem right under the bud is not strong enough to bear the weight of the developing bud/flower. Once the necks bends the vascular bundles within the stem are pinched shut and the flowers water supply is shut down.