"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." - William Shakespeare, "Romeo and Juliet"
We do love our flowers, and spend countless time and money in nurturing them. How sad and frustrating when, in spite of our best efforts, they don't excel as we think they should. Worse yet, something is wrong with them and they topple over and appear to be dying, wilting before our eyes.
What is wilting?
When stems or flowers lose their rigidity and hang down, lean over, or collapse, they are said to be wilting. This process is called loss of turgor pressure or the drying out of water in the plant cells.This can occur in plants or cut flowers.
Cut flower wilting
Once cut flowers no longer have access to the nutrients normally provided by the plant, wilting begins. The stems cells lose their ability to draw up much-needed water. Slowly the flower head will droop, followed by the stem. An air bubble within the stem will hasten this process.
Additionally, if bacteria is present in the vase water, the bloom time will be shortened.
Garden flower wilting
Garden plants can suffer from wilting too. Several different things can wilt garden flowers. Too much or too little water can cause flower wilt. Transplanting often shocks the plant and it will wilt temporarily. Bacterial or fungal disease can kill a plant with the first symptoms appearing as wilting.
The wrong plant in the wrong location will adversely affect a plant's growth and appearance. A sun plant or a shade plant planted in the wrong place will get too little or too much sun and manifest itself as a wilted, dying plant.
Another culprit can be an infestation of cutworms, beetles, grubs or aphids.
Flowers have an enzyme system similar to humans. An Anglo-Canadian company has discovered that Viagra benefits plants by releasing nitric oxide that helps young flowers grow and lengthens the life of the plant. This could benefit florists as it increases the shelf life of flowers.
Watch water consumption; know how much water your plant needs.
Be aware of light requirements. Check often for harmful bugs.
Keep cut flowers away from fruit because ripening fruit releases gases that age flowers. Change the water in vases every two to three days. Remove leaves below the water line in vases.
Avoid placing plants in overheated areas. Talk to your plants, it can't hurt.