GUEST BLOG | Home remedies: fact or fiction?
Fact or Fiction? Which home remedies genuinely work? Steve Fernandes – editor at Ecoroses and senior researcher – has the answer. ‘If you’re looking for simple remedies to care for your flowers, the first thing you will need to do is understand them’, explains Steve.
Steve has conducted research into the influence of these remedies on the growth and flowering of cut flowers: 'It goes without saying that home remedies will give flowers nutrients, but this does not necessarily mean that they are a good alternative for flower food. Some cut flowers are just like "baby flowers". Their survival depends on getting the right nutrients and water. If you want them to truly shine, everything must be right, from the harvest to the vase.'
All flowers benefit from nutrients after they have been cut (i.e. when these are absorbed at the end of the stem). Good flower food should always have one of the following ingredients:
- PH regulators
- Water absorption helpers
Steve: 'Good care and flower food – with all necessary ingredients – are important for the full development of the flower heads and the flowering phase of the flower. It can even lead to an extension of the vase life by 60%, in comparison to using only water.'
How do these home remedies work, and how can they contribute to flower care?
'Soda releases sugar into the flower, but it also feeds bacteria. These bacteria will ultimately block the stem, preventing water from being absorbed by the flower.'
'Bleach helps regulate the flow of bacteria in garden plants (but only in the short term). However, it does not provide any nutrients for flower development. Neither does it decrease the pH value.'
3. Copper coins
'Copper has been known as a fungicide for many years. Unfortunately, our coins have not contained enough copper since 1942. As a result, it is impossible to perceive a measurable effect.'
4. A pin prick through the neck of a tulip
'No scientific evidence has been found demonstrating that this works. On top of that, it causes a wound to the flower, enabling bacteria and botrytis (a fungus) to enter the flower.'
'Vodka provides nutrients, but does not decrease the pH value. Neither does it do anything to combat bacteria.'
'Aspirin decreases the pH value, but does not provide any nutrients. And, just like vodka, it does not combat bacteria.'
Steve: 'As you can tell, some remedies have potential, while others do not work (or do not work sufficiently) and are therefore no effective substitute for flower food. Therefore, it is a good idea to choose wisely.'