COCKTAILS FOR FLOWERS?
Giving a little booze to your paper-whites won’t make them tipsy, according to a new study, but it may keep them from tipping over. A Cornell University horticulturist found that growing paper-whites in the traditional way and replacing the water with 4 percent alcohol stunts the growth of leaves and stems but doesn’t bother the blossoms.
Last year, William Miller, a professor of horticulture and the director of the Flowerbulb Research Program at Cornell, received a call from The New York Times garden editor who was researching a reader’s claim: A jigger of gin had prevented paper-whites from growing too tall and floppy.
Miller found that 4 percent alcohol did the trick. Growth problems begin at 10 percent, and he found that 25 percent alcohol is “dramatically” toxic.
“In the near term, I don’t think this is something for commercial growers to do (because of regulation and labeling issues),” Miller says. “I see this being adapted immediately by homeowners.” Miller is now studying how alcohol can be used on tomato plants and other vegetables.
Read Millers paper at: