Volume 94 Issue 8 | p. 39
Issue Date: February 22, 2016 | Web Date: February 16, 2016

Periodic Graphics: Helping Flowers Last Longer

Chemical educator and Compound Interest blogger Andy Brunning examines how the molecular makeup of flower food helps preserve petals
By Andy Brunning
Department: Science & Technology
News Channels: Biological SCENE, Organic SCENE
Keywords: flowers, sugars, nutrients, antimicrobials, bleach, acidifiers, citric acid, cytokinin growth reglators, silver thiosulfate
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To download a pdf of this article, visit http://cenm.ag/flowers.
This is an infographic describing the chemistry of flower food.
 
To download a pdf of this article, visit http://cenm.ag/flowers.

A collaboration between C&EN and Andy Brunning, author of the popular graphics blog Compound Interest (compoundchem.com). To see all of C&EN’s Periodic Graphics, visit http://cenm.ag/periodicgraphics.


This article has been translated into Spanish by Divulgame.org and can be found here.


 
Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © American Chemical Society
Comments
MM (Wed Feb 17 15:26:21 EST 2016)
Very cool. Sugar, bleach and citric acid -- all readily available at the supermarket for the DIY floral arranger!
Jim Zelonis (Wed Feb 17 20:43:35 EST 2016)
Thanks for the enlightenment on the little packets that come with the flowers that just don't last long enough. Would a home remedy of vinegar, a couple drops of bleach, and a little bit of cane sugar suffice? Once I open a can of saeur kraut, no one will notice the bleach or vinegar odor.
LA (Thu Feb 18 14:09:31 EST 2016)
I really like these short visuals of chemistry topics from Andy Brunning. I visited his blog after looking at the ones on C&EN, and found some very useful items. Thanks very much for this information and exposure to his work.
billly (Fri Feb 19 10:37:06 EST 2016)
I did that and works great.
Jay (Fri Feb 19 11:33:24 EST 2016)
People used to put a baby aspirin in the mix as well. Salicylic acid doesn't smell like vinegar does.
n brownlee (Sun Feb 21 14:18:40 EST 2016)
There doesn't seem to be much point in sugars- they simply encourage bacterial growth. Just use a tablespoon or two of laundry bleach. Change the water/bleach solution every couple of days- it's as effective as anyone needs it to be.
Lee K (Wed Feb 24 08:32:03 EST 2016)
I have used sugar (or Karo Syrup) and asprin in my fresh cut Christmas tree water for years. Outlasts all of my neighbors fresh cut trees every year. Rarely had an issue with microbial growth, probably because of the acidity of the sap, and wasn't usually an issue until the tree was ready to become firewood...
The rest of my secret - cut the base of the tree fresh when you get it home, while still cold, and ASAP get it into warm water solution.
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