Secret Southern Couture: Flowers and Liquor: An Unlikely Duo   

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Flowers and Liquor: An Unlikely Duo

You might buy a flower basket to give someone for a special occasion.  Some people may opt for a paper bag with a bottle of good liquor.  But very few people would think about combining the two, and sending them to a lover, or bringing them to a funeral, disguised as sympathy baskets.  However, research has shown that a little bit of alcohol might actually be a good thing for some flowers.

The question is this:  who thinks of mixing alcohol in the water-sun-fertilizer diet of their potted plants?  Whether the idea stemmed from a hilarious accident at a block party, or came out of the imagination of a scientist at a fancy dinner, the results remain, and prove that this unlikely combination of items may prove to be an excellent idea.

Avoiding the Flop

Some flowers are so good at growing that they actually overextend themselves, becoming so tall that the stems can no longer support the blossoms.  This is true especially for a flower type called Paperwhites.  Used often in flower arrangements, gardens, and other arrangements, Paperwhites are notorious for becoming top-heavy, resulting in an unattractive “flop at the top.”  To avoid this problem, many green thumbed citizens have tried staking these blossoms in an effort to keep them standing tall.  However, it seems that a diluted solution of alcohol will actually help prevent the flower from tipping over.

The Recipe

The trick to making this work, it seems, is to use the right mixture of water and alcohol, and avoid certain types of booze.  For example, beer and wine seem to only do the flower harm, due to the heavy amount of sugars that are found within them.  However, other types of liquors might actually be helpful in preventing flower-flopping, control stem growth, and stunt overgrowth of leaves.  Research showed significant effects with ethanol and other kinds of alcohol at dilutions from 1 to 25 percent.  While using a solution of greater than 10 percent alcohol proved to be more toxic than anything else, a lower solution seemed to generate desired effects.

What To Expect

When liquor is ‘properly used’ in a solution for plants such as paperwhites and other daffodils, some of the results that occur may be beneficial in many ways.  While the flowers that were produced remained large, long-lasting, and as fragrant as ever, the length of their stems was stunted from 30 to 50%. 

Disclosure: Article courtesy of Pro Flowers