Photo: by Stevie Remsberg; Photos: Getty
Welcome to Bad at Plants, a new column in which plant expert Maryah Greene, of Greene Piece consulting, answers your questions about plants so we may all become at least slightly better at keeping them alive.
As the weather grows colder, I get happier, but my plants don’t seem to agree. In past years, I’ve struggled to keep plants alive during the winter, but I don’t want to lose the ones I’ve spent all summer taking care of. Is there anything I can do to prepare them for the colder weather to come? What should I expect?
I think over the past four to six weeks, this question has been at the center of most of my consults. We’re in that awkward time when it still feels like summer some days, but on others it’s colder and that obviously affects the plants.
The biggest and most important thing you can do is adjust your watering schedule. The main reason people kill their plants is because they’re over-watering them. When we go into fall and winter, the days get shorter, so there’s less sunlight and that affects the rate at which water evaporates from our plants. When it’s warm, water evaporates more quickly, but when we have less light, it takes longer and you might want to spread out your watering a bit more. As we get into actual cold weather, toward the end of this month and into November, it’s really going to make a difference.
It’s also important to think about how your environment might change as it gets colder. If you’re warm-blooded and never run the heat and you have a ton of windows, your place is going to get cold. Any plants you keep on the windowsill might not fare as well going into fall and winter as it gets draftier. If you go to your window and look at your plants, and the side closest to the window is starting to turn yellow or brown, it’s likely the draft is affecting them, so consider moving them away from the draft while still giving them some light.
The same rule goes for heaters. For people with central heating, think about where you can place your plants so they’re not affected by that blast of heat. In my new apartment, heated baseboards run along the entire perimeter, so for my floor plants, I have to figure something out so they’re not overheating. I have a new tree in a 14-inch planter, so it’s not like I can hang that. My normal watering schedule might be once every two weeks, but I run my apartment warm, so I might have to move that up to once every 10 days. You might also want to water your plants with lukewarm water rather than cold, too. Last winter, I saw one of my plants freeze after I watered it. I straight-up killed it.
If you have a humidifier, that can help here too, especially with tropicals or ferns. What we’re always trying to do is mimic a plant’s natural environment. If you’re blasting your heat, that’s going to dry out the air, so you can counteract some of that with a humidifier. There are some that are heated, too, which is even better if you’ve got drafts.
Another thing people ask me about is leaves falling off. We think, Oh, leaves fall outside, but in my house, they should be fine. No, it’s still nature. Don’t freak out if leaves start falling off. If you see them turning brown or yellow, pluck or cut them off as usual. The plant will grow back healthier. You just have to be patient. Last winter, my plants weren’t growing, and I got frustrated with them so I bought fertilizer thinking I’d give them a boost. I didn’t realize then that indoor plants go dormant during the colder months, just as they would outside. I overdid it and fried the roots. When you go into these colder months and your plants stop growing, don’t think it’s you. It’s the same way we flee to Miami when it gets cold — our plants are just taking a little vacation.
Also: Be wary of fall-winter plant sales! I started to monitor this trend over the past few years, and I couldn’t figure out why I could get all these really nice, shoppable plants in December for half off. Then I’d take them home and kill them. It was partly that I didn’t know what I was doing, but plant shops are also businesses, and at the end of the day, they want to sell their products. These are plants that might not make it through the winter. Just be careful before purchasing plants on sale midwinter. Ask the nursery staff questions about the growing period. They’ll probably catch on that you’ve done your research.
Do you have questions for Maryah? Send them to [email protected], and we’ll try to get you an answer.
- Autumn Leaves: How Plants Prepare for Winter by Science Made Simple
- How Plants Prepare for Winter
- Autumn Leaf Colors
- What happens to plants in the winter?
- Can a Tree Freeze to Death in Winter?
- How Trees Survive the Winter Without Freezing to Death
- Can a Tree Freeze to Death? A Cornelia Arborist Weighs In February 21, 2018
- Can a Tree Freeze to Death?
- At What Temperature Can a Tree Freeze?
- How Do Trees Stay Alive in the Winter?
- Ash tree leaves frozen
- How to Bring Dying Flowers Back to Life
Autumn Leaves: How Plants Prepare for Winter
by Science Made Simple
How Plants Prepare for Winter
All summer, with the long hours of sunlight and a good supply of liquid water, plants are busy making and storing food, and growing. But what about wintertime? The days are much shorter, and water is hard to get. Plants have found many different ways to get through the harsh days of winter.
Some plants, including many garden flowers, are called “annuals,” which means they complete their life cycle in one growing season. They die when winter comes, but their seeds remain, ready to sprout again in the spring.
“Perennials” live for more than two years. This category includes trees and shrubs, as well as herbaceous plants with soft, fleshy stems. When winter comes, the woody parts of trees and shrubs can survive the cold. The above ground parts of herbaceous plants (leaves, stalks) will die off, but underground parts (roots, bulbs) will remain alive. In the winter, plants rest and live off stored food until spring.
As plants grow, they shed older leaves and grow new ones. This is important because the leaves become damaged over time by insects, disease and weather. The shedding and replacement continues all the time. In addition, deciduous trees, like maples, oaks and elms, shed all their leaves in the fall in preparation for winter.
“Evergreens” keep most of their leaves during the winter. They have special leaves, resistant to cold and moisture loss. Some, like pine and fir trees, have long thin needles.
Others, like holly or rhododendron, have broad leaves with tough, waxy surfaces. On very cold, dry days, these leaves sometimes curl up to reduce their exposed surface.
Evergreens may continue to photosynthesize during the winter as long as they get enough water, but the reactions occur more slowly at colder temperatures.
Autumn Leaf Colors
During summer days, leaves make more glucose than the plant needs for energy and growth. The excess is turned into starch and stored until needed. As the daylight gets shorter in the autumn, plants begin to shut down their food production.
Many changes occur in the leaves of deciduous trees before they finally fall from the branch. The leaf has actually been preparing for autumn since it started to grow in the spring. At the base of each leaf is a special layer of cells called the “abscission” or separation layer. All summer, small tubes which pass through this layer carry water into the leaf, and food back to the tree. In the fall, the cells of the abscission layer begin to swell and form a cork-like material, reducing and finally cutting off flow between leaf and tree. Glucose and waste products are trapped in the leaf. Without fresh water to renew it, chlorophyll begins to disappear.
The bright red and purple fall foliage colors come from anthocyanin (an-thuh-‘si-uh-nuhn) pigments. These are potent antioxidants common in many plants; for example, beets, red apples, purple grapes (and red wine), and flowers like violets and hyacinths. In some leaves, like maple leaves, these pigments are formed in the autumn from trapped glucose.
Why would a plant use energy to make these red pigments, when the leaves will soon fall off? Some scientists think that the anthocyanins help the trees keep their leaves a bit longer. The pigments protect the leaves from the sun, and lower their freezing point, giving some frost protection. The leaves remain on the tree longer, and more of the sugars, nitrogen and other valuable substances can be removed before the leaves fall. Another possible reason has been proposed: when the leaves decay, the anthocyanins seep into the ground and prevent other plant species from growing in the spring.
Brown fall foliage colors come from tannin, a bitter waste product. Other colors, which have been there all along, become visible when the chlorophyll disappears. The orange colors come from carotene (‘kar-uh-teen) and the yellows from xanthophyll (‘zan-thuh-fil). They are common pigments, also found in flowers, and foods like carrots, bananas and egg yolks. We do not know their exact role in leaves, but scientists think they may be involved somehow in photosynthesis. Different combinations of these pigments give us a wide range of colors each fall.
As the bottom cells in the separation layer form a seal between leaf and tree, the cells in the top of the separation layer begin to disintegrate. They form a tear-line, and eventually the leaf is blown away or simply falls from the tree.
One more important question remains. What causes the most spectacular display? The best place in the world for viewing fall colors is probably the Northeastern United States. This is because of the climate there, and the wide variety of deciduous trees.
The brightest colors are seen when late summer is dry, and autumn has bright sunny days and cool (low 40’s Fahrenheit) nights. Then trees make a lot of anthocyanin pigments. A fall with cloudy days and warm nights brings drab colors. And an early frost quickly ends the beautiful fall foliage color display.
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What happens to plants in the winter?
For instance, the seeds of yellow rattle (Rhinanthus minor), an annual of wildflower meadows, need winter temperatures of 0-5C for at least three months in order to germinate. This stratification – a sort of cold clock – breaks seed dormancy in spring, triggering germination of seeds in March when other plants are just beginning to grow. As the seedlings develop, their roots tap into those of grasses growing nearby, reducing their growth by up to 60% and creating space for other flowers to grow. Because of their inherent cold dormancy, yellow rattle seeds should always be sown by November at the very latest.
Some small plants escape the harsh, dry conditions of summer by growing through the winter instead. These ‘winter annuals’ begin life by germinating in autumn, growing stems and leaves through winter and then flowering in very early spring. Their seeds ripen and are shed in late spring, the plants dying in time before temperatures rise and soils become dry. Plants like dwarf mouse-ear (above – Cerastium pumilum), rue-leaved saxifrage (Saxifraga tridactylites), spotted medick (Medicago arabica) and dune fescue (Vulpia fasciculata) grow on very thin, shallow soils in coastal areas that are prone to drought and where mild temperatures mean they can grow through the winter. These plants can be absolutely tiny – dwarf mouse-ear often flowers when it’s less than a centimetre tall and has just three pairs of tiny leaves.
Can a Tree Freeze to Death in Winter?
Our outdoor attire intuitively mirrors the seasons. Bitter cold makes us break out heavy coats while sunny days call for fewer layers—simple as that.
When looking at our trees, it’s hard to imagine how they keep themselves comfortable with the same layer of bark all year, especially in winter.
With all that cold weather, should you worry about your tree freezing to death? Find out exactly what happens to trees when temperatures drop.
How Trees Survive the Winter Without Freezing to Death
Even in the most brutal winters, it’s incredibly rare for trees to freeze to death. Here’s why.
Can a tree freeze to death?
It’s possible, but trees hardly ever freeze to death. But trees do freeze a bit! Half of a tree’s weight is just water. So once winter hits, that water turns to ice.
The trick is that trees work to prevent the water in their cells from freezing. Keep reading to find out how they do it.
At what temperatures do trees freeze?
When temperatures are between 20 and 30 degrees Fahrenheit, most trees freeze. Because each tree is different, the exact temperature varies based on species, location and even the height of a tree.
And if you live up north, you know the winter temperatures are often much colder than 20 degrees, but don’t panic! Trees are usually A-OK as long as they keep their living cells from freezing.
What happens to trees in winter that helps them keep cells alive?
Trees go into dormancy in winter, which is like their hibernation. Even though they look like they’re sleeping, trees still do an awful lot to keep their cells alive, which is how they survive winter.
Here’s exactly what’s going on. Once you know this, you’ll never look at a tree the same in winter!
As you already know, trees drop their leaves, so they no longer have to support them. And trees stock their cells with water, which they use in various plant processes. Once winter arrives, trees move some of that water into the spaces between the cells. This helps keep the inside of the cell from freezing, which would cause the cell to die.
That relocated water then freezes first, which gives off a tiny burst of heat and helps keep the actual tree cells from freezing. While all of this is happening, trees also turn the starch inside their cells to sugar, which makes cells even more cold-tolerant.
Is the process the same for evergreens? How do pine trees survive the winter?
Pine tree needles demand far less water than trees with leaves. That’s why evergreen trees don’t need to drop needles to conserve H2O. In fact, even in icy conditions, pines can move water throughout their branches to nourish needles.
Can a Tree Freeze to Death? A Cornelia Arborist Weighs In
February 21, 2018
The benefits of trees are endless, from raising property values to boosting curb appeals. But in the midst of winter, many homeowners worry that their green giants could freeze to death. The knowledgeable arborists at McAllister Tree Service in Cornelia, GA, have provided removal and preservation services for over 20 years. Below, they address some common concerns about trees in the winter.
Can a Tree Freeze to Death?
Although it’s possible for a tree to perish because of cold conditions, arborists say it’s very rare. Half of a tree’s composition is made of water, so if the temperature does drop low enough, the water contained may turn to ice. This would lead to dead leaves, branches, and in some rare cases, even the entire tree.
At What Temperature Can a Tree Freeze?
Temperatures have to be as low as between 20 and 30 degrees for a tree to freeze. However, the exact freezing point depends on the species and its size and location. In northern regions of the country, where temperatures are quite low throughout the winter, trees keep from freezing to death by preserving living cells.
How Do Trees Stay Alive in the Winter?
In the fall, trees drop their leaves, so they no longer have to support them with water. Through various processes, they stock their living cells with water. When winter does arrive, some of the moisture is moved into the space between the cells to keep the insides from freezing. This allows trees to survive the winter.
While a tree dying in winter does not have to be on the top of your list of concerns, the arborists at McAllister Tree Service in Cornelia, GA, do recommend keeping an eye out for any falling branches or safety hazards. They provide a wide range of top-quality tree services, from trimming and pruning to stump removal, so if you’re worried about a green giant on your property, they’re here to help. Give them a call today at (706) 778-7527 to schedule an appointment, and visit their website for more information on what these arborists do.
Ash tree leaves frozen
My ash tree had already formed leaves before the most recent severe weather. The leaves froze, turned black, and fell off. Will it die?
Your tree will probably not die, but it may be late in developing new leaves and needs to be well cared for this year. You may, in fact, continue to see twig and branch dieback for several years following this year’s spring freeze injury.
Since the buds had broken and leaves were formed, you may have had total death of the new growth and associated buds. However, trees often have an insurance policy in the form of accessory buds. These are smaller buds adjacent to the primary bud which suffered the damage. These accessory buds rarely grow and produce branches unless something happens to the primary bud. This is what happens when you prune off a one-year-old branch and a new growth develops at the base of the removed branch. This bud may also grow if the primary bud or branch is killed by insects, disease, wind, or cold weather.
Later, as the accessory buds begin to grow, you will get a better idea of the extent of the damage. You may see growth beginning near the end of the twigs and branches in the tree if damage was minimal. If damage was severe, you will observe considerable dieback as the new growth begins farther down the branches leaving a foot or more of dead branch. Remove the dead branches by pruning after you have observed good development of new twigs and leaves. Be sure the tree receives adequate water this year, but do not apply heavy fertilizer applications. If the tree is healthy, it will contain sufficient food and nutrient reserves to produce the new growth. Light fertilization after the growth has formed will be sufficient if any fertilization is necessary.
Trees which were not healthy, suffering heavy insect infestation, stressed by the previous few years’ drought, stressed by poor culture and compacted soil, injured by herbicides, or newly planted may be sufficiently injured to cause death. These trees may attempt new growth but fail to sustain this growth. This will be especially true if the cambium were injured. The cambium is the layer of dividing cells under the bark which forms new xylem and phloem each year. Xylem and phloem carry water and nutrients from the soil up (xylem) and sugars and amino acids down (phloem) through branches and the trunk. If the cambium were sufficiently injured to prevent adequate formation of phloem, the roots would starve as they could not receive adequate food from the leaves. Once the roots die or are injured, the top would begin to show symptoms.
Trees injured by any stress, including stress from spring freezes, become more attractive to insects. In fact, injured trees produce chemicals which attract the insects that will feed on and kill injured trees. Dead and injured portions of trees may also be more prone to fungal attack. So, be observant looking for insect and disease problems in your injured trees.
Remember, not all insects or diseases are cause for concern, but even some which might not otherwise be a problem should be watched closely. If you see insect populations or disease symptoms, determine what insect or disease is present and then you may safely decide if control measures are warranted. Your local County Extension Service can help you make these determinations. If control measures are necessary, be sure to use products labeled for controlling the identified problem and for use on the specific trees you will be treating. Read and follow all label directions to maximize safety and effectiveness.
- Why do flowers die?
- Why are my potted flowers dying?
- How do you keep potted flowers alive?
- How do you save flowers from dying?
- How often should I water my potted flowers?
At the Lain casa flowers have been planted and are filling in quickly. Take a look at the Pinterest Board to see this year’s gardens. It’s nice to pass from the drab gardens of winter to the blooming colors of spring.
If you’ve experienced flower garden failures, you probably have labeled yourself as having a “brown thumb”. However, even experienced gardeners make mistakes resulting from impatience and the initial excitement of spring planting. When you come home with a truck full of flowers, there are a few gardening mistakes that can be avoided easily, immediately coating your thumb in a lovely shade of green! There also are a few tricks that can increase the beauty of your gardens.
Mistake #1 Getting Rough When Repotting
When repotting plants, especially flowering plants, their stems are very vulnerable to damage. When you pull and tug on your new plants’ stems, you’re introducing injuries that provide a portal for the unwanted access of harmful fungi, insects, and other pests.
Solution: Never pull a plant out of the container by its foliage or stems. Tap on the bottom of the pot to loosen the plant. If it’s slightly stuck, squeeze the pot to loosen the rootball. If it’s really rootbound, get out your box cutter and carefully slice the container off of the plant.
Mistake #2 Picking the Wrong Location
Many mountain plants need at least six hours of sun to set new flowers. Without this source of photosynthesis, these plants stop blooming, weaken, and become susceptible to pests and diseases. Shade-loving mountain plants have learned to grow under the protection of a woodland canopy and will scorch when exposed to our bright midday sun.
Solution: It’s OK to push the envelope a bit on plant exposures. As a general rule, plants that receive 6+ hours of sun during the growing season are considered in “full sun.” If in doubt ask one of Watters’ plant ambassadors about best placements for the plants you want to use.
Mistake #3 Planting for the Wrong Region
New gardeners often bring cacti up from the desert of Phoenix for Prescott planting. All cacti will thrive until our first hard freeze around Thanksgiving when each plant will shrivel, freeze solid, and turn into a pile of black mush.
Solution: Talk to the gardeners on your street for advice; you’ll know them by their beautiful gardens. Visit a local botanical garden to see what grows well in your region. Shop for plants locally, and ask your garden center for advice.
Mistake #4 Planting Too Early
It’s not fair: Winter has hung on three weeks too long, and the nurseries are tempting you with all those beautiful dahlias and New Guinea impatiens. If the nursery is selling these flowers, it must be time to plant them, right? So you bring home a flat, and set out your newbies the first time the thermometer hits 60 degrees F.
The problem with this approach is that the nursery was tending these tender tropicals in controlled-temp greenhouses, and now you’ve plopped them directly into the spring thaw. Not always death-proof to a sudden night time dip in temperature.
Solution: Usually the last frost date is May 9th. If the plant tag says to plant them two weeks after the last frost, do so or be ready to protect and cover each one every night if necessary. For the earliest spring flowers stick to stalwarts like pansies, dusty millers, snapdragons, and primroses.
Mistake #5 Too Much (or Too Little) Water
Flowers are as particular about moisture as they are about sun exposure. “Moisture loving” may mean an inch of water per week, or it could describe a bog plant like our cardinal flower. Local natives are ready for planting at the garden center and blooming like crazy right now, but most of these mountain tough plants can literally be watered to death.
Solution: Plant together flowers with similar needs. The landscape around your mailbox and far away from your faucet may be perfect for native xeriscape plants. Install moisture-loving plants in the garden bed by the downspouts.
Again, for local inspiration take a look at the gardens Lisa and I planted. Some of my personal favorites are:
Until next issue, I’ll be here at Watters Garden Center helping gardeners with their flower successes.
Ken Lain can be found throughout the week at Watters Garden Center, 1815 W. Iron Springs Rd in Prescott, or contacted through her web site at WattersGardenCenter.com or FB.com/WattersGardenCenter .
Read about some of the remedies to prevent your beloved houseplants from dying.
Why do plants die? Every time a plant dies in my garden, a little part of me dies with it. In the beginning I never really understood why exactly a plant died – I felt miserable for a few days after that and kept going over what could probably be the cause. Over time, my PMR or Plant Mortality Rate, as I like to call it, has reduced by quite a margin as I learnt more about gardening and the quirks associated with it.
Analyzing why do plants die is quite similar to trying to understand why a baby is crying. When a baby cries, a mother mentally ticks off against a checklist – Is she hungry? Is it time to sleep? Diaper’s full? Tummy ache? Something/someone is bothering her? etc. Similarly, when a plant looks like it’s dying, there’s a quick checklist you could go over. We have also given some remedies by which you can save your plant from sure death.
Why do Plants die?
- Poor Soil:
Have you potted your plant correctly? If it is in the ground, is the soil healthy? The health of your soil is very important – the soil needs to be fertile, free of harmful worms like grub worms, which destroy the roots of a plant and are a common cause for yellow patches on your lawns.
The soil also needs to be loosened as tight, compact soil prevents the roots from breathing oxygen. If the pot is too small for the plant and the roots are getting constricted, it is time to repot the plant into a larger planter.
Dead Houseplant due to Poor soil
Your soil has to be of the right pH level for your plants to thrive well. It should not be too acidic or too alkaline. A pH range of approximately 6 to 7 promotes the most ready availability of plant nutrients.
Read more about “Soil pH and Plant growth”.
- Too Much/ Too Less Water:
If your plant has brown spots or the leaves are soggy and rotten, then you are giving too much water to your plants. Different plants require different amounts of water. Some plants need to be watered everyday while some should be watered only once a week. The best thing to do is to search online about the care to be taken for the particular plant and act accordingly.
- Poor Drainage:
A common reason for plants dying is bad drainage. The soil or the potting mixture should be porous enough to allow for good drainage of water. Does your pot have a hole at the bottom? If yes, has it been blocked? Test this by pouring water into the pot – the water should be completely absorbed by the soil and it should flow out through the hole.
Unhealthy houseplant due to poor soil drainage.
If it is not flowing out, then a good idea would be to re-plant the pot. This time place some stones at the bottom to ensure good drainage of water. Also, add coco peat or a similar organic mulching mixture to the soil, to improve its porosity to allow better drainage.
Read more about “Waterlogged Garden solutions”.
- Not enough sun light/ Too much sunlight:
Different plants need different amount of sunlight. Indoor plants need little sunlight whereas plants like roses require full sunlight. If the leaves are becoming dry and brittle, this means that there is too much sunlight for the plant. Try keeping it in semi-shade for a few days. Yellowing of leaves occurs when the plant is receiving lesser sunlight. Shift the plant to a place which receives ample sunlight.
Unhealthy plant due to poor sunlight.
Root Rot Fungus or other diseases and pests can cause plants to die suddenly out of nowhere. Regularly checking the growth of your plant and spraying it with organic pesticides like Neem Oil can help in preventing such incidents.
Read about various kinds of Organic pesticides for your plants by clicking here.
Also browse through the vast collection of Organic pesticides offered by GreenMyLife shop.
- Too much/too little Fertilizer:
Overdosing your plant with too much fertilizers/compost is a very common cause of death, especially for new plants. Younger plants only need a smaller portions of fertiliser. Always remember to mix the fertiliser properly with soil, otherwise pure concentrated fertiliser may choke and kill the plant.
Over fertilised plant
Once your plant has grown up a little, you would have to regularly nourish it with compost- at least once every 2-3 months. Not enough nutrition can cause the plant to wilt and die out.
Read about various kinds of Organic fertilisers for healthy plants.
Also browse through the vast collection of Organic Fertilisers offered by GreenMyLife shop.
- Is your dog peeing on it?
Dog urine is rich in urea, an organic nitrogen compound, as well as alkaline salts. In large amounts, the nitrogen in urine dries out plants and leads to leaf burn, and also causes disease and infections in plants. Dog-urine salts can also alter the pH of your plant’s soil, making it even more alkaline and damaging the plant’s roots.
I lost a whole row of healthy Cauliflower plants to my dog’s nature calls – on second thoughts, even if the plants hadn’t died, I couldn’t have eaten the Cauliflowers with “Clyde” peeing on them. So keep your dog away from your plants.
Keep pets away from your plants
After your dog urinates on any plants in your yard, douse the area with water from your garden hose. A thorough rinsing of the area within eight hours of urination dilutes the urine enough to prevent damage to your plant. You can also discourage your dog from peeing on the plants by spraying a mixture of Eucalyptus Oil and water. This remedy along with regular outdoor walks for my dog has worked for me.
- Natural Course:
It is the natural course of some of the plants to die after a certain age or after they have given fruits/flowers etc. For example, the Plantain/Banana tree dies after giving birth to a bunch of bananas and a few young saplings. This is perfectly normal so save your tears!
Sunflower having lived its natural course.
With the causes and preventative steps in place for plant mortality, we hope that you never have to bid a plant friend adieu…!
Written by Gitanjali Rajamani for GreenMyLife.
How to Bring Dying Flowers Back to Life
A bouquet of spectacular flowers can brighten up any home . However, watching them fade away on a journey towards the next world without knowing how to bring flowers back to life can be kind of a downer. Seeing those beautiful blooms wilt and lose all confidence can bring up all kinds of melancholia and make you wonder about your eventual demise.
Fear not though, for all is not lost. Your proud bouquet does not have to shuffle off into the long night without putting up a fight. With a bit of emergency life-saving “medical” treatment, your fabulous flowers can rise again (in a nice way, not in a zombie way). By administering some resurrection treatment, here’s how to bring flowers back to life:
- Clean Your “Operating Room”
Before addressing the root of the problem, make sure your vase is sparkling and free of potential dangers. Fill it with hot water and some dishwashing liquid then leave to sit for a few minutes. Rinse fully and your vase should be ready for its role in the revival.
- Cut the Stems
The main reason why flowers begin to wilt is that they’re simply not getting enough water. This might happen even if there is plenty of water in the vase, usually when there’s no way water can enter the stem itself. That’s because once a stem is cut, the tissue which transports water through the flower begins to die, and this process begins from the point of incision and progresses each day.
To bypass the blockage of dead tissue, it’s important to cut the stems of your flowers. Choose a point about an inch up from its current base and use a non-serrated knife or scissors for the operation. It’s also vital to cut the stems at a 45-degree angle, to increase the surface area for absorption and ensure that the base of the stem doesn’t lie flat at the bottom of the vase.
As a best practice, cut the stems at a 45-degree angle every time you change your Bouqs’ water.
- Add Bleach to the Water to Kill Bacteria
Another reason for water not being able to pass through the plants is due to a bacterial infection affecting the “open wound” where it has been previously cut. This can be especially prevalent when adding sugar or plant food which bacteria thrive on. To keep your flower safe from an infection, you can just add a small amount of bleach, one teaspoon to a quart, to ward off nasty microbes. As it is well-diluted, it won’t harm your flowers.
- Add Sugar or Plant Food to the Water
If water is the emergency blood drip for your flower’s vital organs, then sugar is the hit of adrenaline to kick-start it. Plant food contains sugar for this reason, so don’t worry if you don’t have any packages of it lying around–normal sugar will work about as well. One teaspoon of sugar or plant food to a quart of water should be enough to get your flowers to start perking up.
If this hasn’t helped, add another teaspoon of sugar (dissolved in warm water, first) after two or three hours.
- Trim Away Dead or Dying Foliage
If your flower is lacking the nutrients or water to keep all of its parts healthy, “amputation” is the only course of action. Dead and dying leaves or blooms can draw away vital resources from viable blooms, so cutting or picking these off ensures your flower conserves the energy it has for longer.
- Keep Them Cool
Like many fresh things, keeping your flowers out of direct heat and in a cool environment can keep them fresher for longer. If you live in an especially warm area, you can even keep them in a refrigerator at night time for ultimate preservative effects.
Now that you’ve brought your Bouq back to life, it’s time to start thinking about the next one. Did you know we offer a subscription service that takes the guesswork out of choosing your next Bouq? You can set up Bouqs to arrive on a regular schedule, and skipping upcoming deliveries is as easy as pie…errr, figuring out how to bring flowers back to life!