What is in Cut Flower Food???

Every now and then the better half will put me in the dog house. Not because I did anything wrong, she'll invent something with the hope that I shower her with cut flowers from the florist. Now everytime I get the flowers, a small pack* of Floralife is included. Mix it with a pint of warm water, and the cut flowers will last forever. What is this powder? What are the ingedients? They're not listed on the pack and it can't be of any danger. No first aid directions, just the usual warning about keeping away from children. * I remember many, many years ago I used to buy a product that came in a similar size pack. The contents of it were to be used if you were lucky enough to make a woman happy.
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Its sugar and chlorine bleach.

because I

her
Mix it

pack
warning
enough
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It probably contains (1) sugar to feed the plant, (2) something to acidify the water to make it more compatible with the ambient plant juices and (3) some sort of sterilization agent to kill bacteria which could otherwise multiply and block the passages that carry water to the plant.
See http://www.umass.edu/umext/floriculture/fact_sheets/specific_crops/presvcut.html This site includes a receipe for making your own cut flower preservative with common household materials (or at least stuff readily available in your local grocery store [e.g. non-diet Sprite or 7-up {containing both sugar and citric acid <note that I'm a fan of nested parenthetical expressions |not all of which are relevant|>} and bleach for sterilization -- see the site for proportions]). Since requirements vary with the flower species, the site gives a few examples.
This mixture doesn't replace roots, so the plant won't last "forever", but it will extend vase life by as much as a week or two (depending on plant varieties and pre-vase care).
Note that if you're cutting your own flowers, placing the flowers immediately (within a second or two) into water will help a lot. If that isn't practical, cutting an inch off the stem underwater will help. Essentially, the flower is sucking water from the ground. When cut, it sucks air into the stem, producing an air bubble (vapor lock) and inhibiting further water takeup. Placing the stem in water immediately minimizes the bubble and cutting the stem underwater removes it.
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very good info - thanks very much!
dps wrote:

http://www.umass.edu/umext/floriculture/fact_sheets/specific_crops/presvcut.html

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rec.gardens wrote:

Most likely you are (are used to be) a programmer for IBM software products where the heirarchy of parenthetical (or braced [including other defined sub-expression delimiters]) expressions must exactly match.
....or it don't run at all.
FACE
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Used to be alum and sucrose, I was told... not sure if it still is. 50-50 carbonated lemon-lime sodapop with sugar (not diet) and water does about the same thing. Add a drop of bleach if your tap water isn't chlorinated.
Kay
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