Buy Viagra To Keep Flowers From Wilting?


Day 1

The Experiment

Our day job at magicbluepill.com Involves us in a lot of Viagra-related adventures. Seems only natural to apply some scientific understanding to the magic pill too.

Viagra (sildenafil citrate) has a firmly established ability to keep the male organ erect. But you might be surprised to learn that it has also been used in the laboratory to keep cut flowers from going limp. With Motherís Day coming up, we decided to test this out for ourselves and find out if the same pill that keeps Dadís woody from wilting can keep Momís mums looking perky. We also compared two other chemical additives recommended by household hints sites for keeping flowers fresh Ė vodka and Sprite.

Pills, Booze, and Soda Pop

We based our experiment on research done by Israeli scientist Ya'acov Leshem (link). Leshem was investigating ways to extend the shelf life of fruits, vegetables, and cut flowers by treating them with nitric oxide. The nitric oxide keeps plants fresh by inhibiting an enzyme that breaks down the chemical cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP). Coincidentally, this is the same way that Viagra combats erectile dysfunction. When Leshem added a small amount of Viagra to water and placed cut flowers it, he found the flowers remained fresh and erect up to twice as long as untreated flowers.

We chose to test vodka as well, as it had received good reviews from many gardening and home web sites for its ability to keep flowers fresh, supposedly by sterilizing the water and preventing the growth of putrefying bacteria. Sprite or 7-Up was also highly touted as a DIY flower preservative; the acid in the soda is supposed to prevent bacteria growth, while the sugar acts as food for the cut flowers.

We obtained three dozen cut long-stemmed roses and divided them randomly into four groups of nine flowers each. The control group was placed in 500 ml of plain distilled water. Another group was placed in 500 ml of distilled water, to which we added 3 ml of vodka. Another group of flowers was place in a solution of 340 ml of distilled water and 160 ml of Sprite (approximating the 1:2 ratio of Sprite to water recommended by some web sites). The final test group was placed in 500 ml of distilled water to which we added approximately 10 mg of Viagra in solution. The Viagra solution was prepared by crushing a Viagra tablet into fine powder, adding distilled water, and shaking vigorously.

All four vases of flowers were kept on the same table for the seven-day experiment period and were exposed to identical light, temperature, and air conditions. We did not change the water in the vases at all or add anything to the water once the experiment had started.

Keepiní It Tight and Upright

On Day 2 of our experiment, all of the groups seemed to be on about equal footing. However, by Day 3, significant differences began to emerge. All groups of flowers, except for the Viagra group, showed some noticeable degree of blossom opening. The Viagra-treated flowers seemed to be as tight as they were the previous two days. We noticed that different colors of roses seemed to be opening at different rates, with the pink roses opening first. On the third day, the control group showed only slight opening of these pink roses, while the same flowers in the vodka and Sprite groups where considerable more open.

By Day 4, individual roses in the control and vodka group were already showing signs of wilting, drooping, and losing petals. The pink roses in these groups were also more fully opened, with their petals spreading out from 8 to 12 cm, when measuring across the flower at the widest point.. The pink roses in the Viagra group, on the other hand, were still tightly wrapped at 4.5 to 6 cm. While the yellow roses in all three groups were still holding up well, the red roses in the vodka, Sprite and control groups were beginning to open to 6 or 7 cm. The red roses in the Viagra group were still at 2.5 to 5 cm across. At this point the Viagra group was clearly holding up the best, while the Sprite group seemed to have a slight edge over the vodka and control groups, which seemed about even.


Day 5 - Droopy and Wilted


Day 5 - Keeping it Up

Over Day 5 and Day 6, the Sprite group took a turn for the worse, as its flowers began to wilt dramatically. The yellow roses, which still had not really opened, simply drooped, with the stem bending just below the flower heads. Although one or two flowers in the control group began to wilt and brown around the edges, on the whole, the control roses on the average were less fully opened than those in the vodka group. By comparison, the Viagra-treated flowers were looking remarkably lively. One red rose in the bunch had begun to droop, but the rose heads were all still relatively compact and upright in contrast to the other groups.

By Day 7 there was no doubt that the Viagra was in fact an effective flower preservative. The roses treated with Viagra showed some signs of age; slight wilting and browning around the edges of the petals affected some flowers. However, 8 out of 9 of the flowers remained completely erect on their stems, compared to the roses in the other groups, all of which suffered some degree of drooping. In addition, the Viagra-treated roses retained compact flower heads and tightly wrapped petals, compared to those in the other groups, many of which had fully opened by the end of the experiment period.


Day 7 - Unable to Stand Erect


Day 7 - Strong and Upright

Conclusions: The Blue Pill Wins

Viagra was far and away the winner in this experiment. Its ability to keep cut roses fresh looking was impressive. While after a week, no one would have mistaken the Viagra-treated roses for a bouquet direct from the florist, they still looked presentable, especially compared to the competition, and there was little significant wilting.


Day 7

The Sprite was the big disappointment in this trial, and despite the number of people who swear by it, it seemed to actually have a detrimental effect on the flowers after a few days. By the end of the week, the flowers in the Sprite group were considerably droopier and looked positively pathetic. The Sprite seemed to somehow cause the flower stems to lose their integrity. The vodka and control groups ran about even, with the control group perhaps taking a slight edge. The vodka seemed to have the effect of causing the flowers to open more fully, making them look a bit more spent. Perhaps the amount of alcohol we added was too small to have a preservative effect, but the effect that it did have did not seem to be positive.

We recommend you save the vodka and Sprite for mixing cocktails; youíre better off putting your flowers in plain water than adding these to the vase. Viagra, on the other hand, appears to be an excellent cut flower preservative. Although we imagine that most people would rather put it to its more conventional use, with a little pinch in the water, Viagra will keep the bloom on your rose longer.

Other experiments:

What is the Ultimate Jello-Shot?
How to Light a Jell-O Shot on Fire
How Many Condoms Can You Wear at Once?
How To Keep Beer Cold
The Cheney Shotgun Experiment


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