Flowering Gardening

Double Flowers Last Longer

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Sanguinaria canadiensis ‘Mulitplex’ has blooms that can last up to 10 days; those of the single form rarely last longer than three! Source: fernwoodnursery.wordpress.com

It’s odd, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen this written down before, yet it’s a basic truth. Double flowers, ones with extra petals, tend to last longer than single flowers, that is those with the normal number of petals.

How much longer? Sometimes not at all, but usually a day or so longer, even up to a week longer. Of course, weather conditions are a factor. For many plants, even single flowers last longer when the weather is cool rather than warm and double ones do even better. Also, unseasonably hot weather can cause even double flowers to wilt or fall apart early, as can strong winds or heavy rain.

And it’s not just in the garden: it’s even more obvious indoors where inclement weather isn’t a factor. Flower arrangers know or should know that double cut flowers generally last longer than single ones.

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Double tulips, like Tulipa ‘Angelique’, last a few days longer than single ones. Source: www.homedepot.com

Why? One possible reason is that so many double flowers are partially or totally sterile. The flower therefore seems to remain open a bit longer, vainly waiting for pollinisation. In other cases, the mutated plant parts that became petaloids (stamens, carpels, etc.) are just longer lasting than petals … or the flower doesn’t have a proper mechanism for shedding these abnormal growths.

Whatever the reason, double blooms do generally last a bit longer and knowing this might be a factor in your choice of plants.

It’s just something I thought somebody ought to write down!

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

1 comment on “Double Flowers Last Longer

  1. so cool, I had no idea!

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