Wirey Situation

A few weeks ago Syndicate celebrated Caroline Robson’s 40th anniversary as a Syndicate employee! (Wow!)  Her sweet husband sent her roses to commemorate the occasion which turned into an interesting story that we can all learn from.

A box of roses arrived at her office and she noticed that the stems were wired. I’m told this is an old technique that helps the flower heads not to droop, known in the industry as “bent neck”.  She cut the stems and placed them in water treated with Aquaplus.  Three days later the water was very murky and the roses were looking a little stressed.  She consulted Bill DeBoer, our Post Harvest Scientist, and he immediately recognized that the wires on the stems were having a chemical reaction with the Aquaplus. They removed the wire, cleaned up and re-cut the stems and placed them in a fresh solution of Aquaplus.  By the next day the stems perked up and are in full bloom.

So what’s the takeaway?  Here’s what Bill has to say: “The acid we use to bring the pH down (microbial control) reacts with metal thereby releasing metal ions into the solution.  Plants don’t really like heavy metals and so exposure to this environment causes cellular death and would without correction result in the untimely passing of the flowers.  Metals should never EVER be placed in any floral preservative (not just Aquaplus).

With today’s quality of flowers and the innovation in post harvest care and treatments there is no need to wire flowers. With all of these advancements “bent neck” is a thing of the past.  So remember when it comes to wires… Just say NO!


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  1. Lacy says:

    Great post! Does this include Oasis design and aluminum wires or are those treated to not release chemicals into the water? Is this also applicable to foam arrangements?

  2. Millie Eggert says:

    Because aluminum is a fairly inert metal, it does not rust easily. Therefore it will not release the damaging chemicals that can harm the flowers. The practice of wiring roses usually involves the stiff green floral wire which is made of painted steel.

    Thanks for your comment!!

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