What is Flower Food?

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  • Written By: N. Phipps
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2019
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Even flowers require plant food in order to maintain optimal health. Fresh flower food is an excellent source of nutrition for flowers, especially cut flowers. Using food for cut flowers can increase their vase life, sometimes up to fifty percent according to many florists. This percentage can be even greater when other cut flower care tips are implemented as well. Cut flower food also provides numerous benefits in addition to prolonging vase life.

The sugary substances included in plant food solutions provide flowers with nutrients not only to keep cut flowers healthy, but to allow them to continually develop and maintain color as well. Additional ingredients help control pH levels, or acidity. There are even additives aimed at controlling microorganisms, which can lead to the buildup of harmful bacteria.

While there are many types of cut flower food products on the market, some of them can be quite costly. However, as an alternative to using these commercial brands of plant food, many people choose to make their own. In fact, homemade flower food can be just as effective at only a fraction of the cost. All it takes is a teaspoon of sugar added to a pint of water. An additional teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar will help control pH, levels while a teaspoon of bleach will help reduce bacteria.


In addition to flower food, cut flowers have specific needs both prior to harvesting as well as after. For instance, to ensure that flower stems are adequately filled with water prior to cutting, they should be harvested in the morning or evening, at least an hour after watering them. Cut flowers also absorb water more easily when they are cut at an angle. Freshly harvested flowers should always be placed in water immediately to avoid wilting.

Other cut flower tips that can help prolong vase life along with flower food include choosing unopened buds rather than fully developed flowers. Water should be changed at least every few days and cut flowers should be located out of direct sunlight to keep them cooler. Plant stems with milky sap should be dipped in boiling water to seal the ends while those with woody stem should be crushed prior to placing in water. It also helps to recut and crush these stems every other day.


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Post 3

Can somebody tell me the best flower food to use for begonias? The package says that they recommend using Aquaplus flower food, but I can't find that anywhere. Can somebody either tell me where to buy it, or whether I can use something else?


Post 2

What are some good homemade flower food ideas for rose flower food and iris flower food? I want to keep my flowers good and fed, but I would really rather not spend a fortune on fancy flower food packets.

In the past I've used products from Flower Foods, Inc., but I'd rather switch to something homemade if such an option exists, because I'm moving to a new area without that store, and because I'm trying to do more homemade things.

Can anybody advise me of good, natural flower foods?

Post 1

When giving a flower gift such as a flower basket, is it expected that you give flower food packets as well?

We have some new neighbors moving in and I want to give them a flower basket, but I wasn't sure if I needed to include some flower food with it -- is there an etiquette for this kind of thing?

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