How To Use Flower Food Correctly (And Why We Include It In Every Shipment!)

Jul 03, 2024

How To Use Flower Food Correctly (And Why We Include It In Every Shipment!)

Hey there,

Today, we’re going back to basics and talking about all things (fresh) flower food. You know, that little sachet of powder that comes with just about any fresh flower delivery that kiiinda gets overlooked, and sometimes, thrown away? Flower food can often feel like the third handful of napkins in most delivery orders: appreciated although superfluous and, more often than not, put away to languish in the back of your everything drawer.

And while saving these little packets for a hypothetical someday may work for some, we're in the use-it-or-lose it camp when it comes to the flotsam and jetsam that cohabitates with our loose change in said drawer. But like any tool, there's a right way and a wrong way to put this portable powder to work to help improve the life and longevity of your fresh flowers (and we're all about helping our fresh flowers last as long as possible). Let's talk about it!


Let’s get a little (flower) nerdy. What is flower food, anyway?

Aptly named, flower food does just what it says it does: feeds your fresh flowers (and we're talking all flowers: roses, hydrangea, sunflowers, you name it!) to help them look better for longer once you have them in your vase. Floral food contains three basic components: something acidic, something sugar-y and something antibacterial-y (scientifically speaking, of course). 

The acidic component helps to lower the pH of the vase water so your stems can hydrate a little more easily, the sugar feeds your flowers since they can’t photosynthesize once they’ve been removed from the plant and, finally, the antibacterial prevents bacteria build up so your fresh cuts always get a fresh drink.


How does flower food work?

Once cut, flowers can no longer undergo photosynthesis, the process by which they (and all plants) create food (sugar) for themselves. In the vase, flower food provides an alternate source for the fuel that the stem can no longer make on its own.

The acidic element doesn't feed the flower, but instead helps to preserve it by lowering the pH of the water most of us use to fill our vases. Floral fact: flowers drink basic water more readily than more acidic water. More water equals more hydrated flowers equals a longer vase life. That whole add-acid-to-make-water-less-acidic thing sounds a little backwards, but when it comes to pH levels, think of it like the two negatives make a positive rule. Also real talk, we probably should of paid a little more attention in seventh grade science class… but we digress.  

And finally - the antibacterial element, or bleach. Ever heard of a friend adding a splash of bleach to their vase water and think they were kinda cray? We’re here to explain! As your stems age, they begin to deteriorate. This is usually the point when you start to notice your vase water looking a little cloudy, even when replacing regularly. This natural part of the aging process causes bacteria to build up in the vase water (hence the cloudiness), and, just like us, flowers don't do well when drinking from a contaminated water source. Ironically, the sugar in the flower food can also encourage this bacteria growth to happen faster. The bleach, or whatever bacteria inhibitor is present in your flower food, helps to prevent or slow down this accumulation and ensure your stems are getting a fresh drink of H20!

So now that you know the what, it’s time to learn the how, which, in our opinion, is just as important as the science behind this mixture.


How to use flower food… the right way.

First things first, it's all about proportion, proportion, proportion. Most sachets come with the right amount of flower food for 1/2 liter to one full liter of water (that's about 2.1 or 4.2 cups, respectively). Using too much flower food, or rather using too much flower food relative to how much water you're putting in your vase, is a quick way to actually shorten the vase life of your flowers… and use up way more flower food than you need. For best results, we recommend reading the directions/infographics you find on your flower food packet to ensure you're also using the right amount H20 in your vase. Depending on the size of your vase, you may not need the entire packet of flower food (or even close to!) for one vase full of water.

Second, stir it up! Undissolved granules of flower food can also damage the health of your stems. Once you add some flower food into your vase water, give it a vigorous stir. We like to wait five to ten minutes and then stir again before adding our flowers just to make sure everything is properly mixed into the water.


Do I need more flower food for my flowers?

The companies that manufacture commercial flower food know that the only hands-on time most consumers spend with their cut flowers is when they're putting them in a vase for the first time. That means no vase water changes, no stem trims, etc.

Accordingly, commercial flower food is generally designed to be a one and done solution, coming with enough food to sustain cut flowers a few days longer than they would have lived without any additions to the vase/additional water changes (assuming they're also kept away from direct sources of light or heat, of course).

All that said, if you see something, do something. If the vase water is looking cloudy or gunky, gently remove your bouquet and place it in a temporary vessel, like a drinking glass, to maintain its shape. Empty the water from your vase and give it a quick clean with some soap and warm water. You can also add a splash (and we mean a splash!) of bleach to the vase water to help prevent bacteria build up, then replace the flowers. Repeat as often as you can remember and, if you're really going for gold, every day. This is also a good rule of thumb for any flowers you bring home that don't come with flower food. Fresh water is the single best thing you can give you stems to ensure the longest vase life.


We hope you’ve learned a new thing or two that you can use next time you get an online flower delivery from Farmgirl to your doorstep to help.

‘Til next time!



Team Farmgirl

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