Zinnia’s in Space!

flower arrangements nhUsually local florists near Merrimack, NH don’t have many mind-blowing topics that we are bursting at the seams to tell you about. We usually talk about different flowers you can plant, what’s popular in our world of flowers and little things like that. But today, there is groundbreaking news for all of us.

Now let’s take a step back. We can all agree that there is something beautiful about being able to watch flowers grow. It allows one to appreciate life in a different species. Many times flowers are fairly hardy and able to adapt in almost any climate depending on their strain (flowers in Hudson, NH won’t grow in the Mojave). Here’s where this basic flower talk becomes interesting. Of all the places humans have cultivated flowers, never before have flowers been attempted to grow in space.

For the past year, astronaut Scott Kelly has been working on growing lettuce and flowers in space. They succeeded in growing lettuce last year and actually eating space cultivated lettuce. The ability to grow plants is space is a key factor in future NASA missions. Have you seen the movie The Martian? Well skip to the next paragraph if you haven’t because we need to give some spoilers. In the movie Matt Damon’s character needs to survive on Mars by growing potatoes. Good thing he was a Botanist who was there already testing Mars’ soil. Thankfully he survives long enough to be rescued and manages to grow potatoes on Mars. This movie reality is going to need to be used for the first human trip to Mars by NASA in upcoming years.

The next NASA mission to Mars will require the astronauts to grow some of their own food. The ability to grow lettuce and now flowers in space proves that there is hope to be able to sustain the astronauts on Mars. Kelly states that “’there’s going to be a long period of time when we’re going to have to be completely self-sufficient’” on the next trip to Mars in an article from ABC News.

The Zinnia has another job now that it has bloomed on the International Space Station. After two years and a few failed attempts according to CNN the Zinnia has bloomed. This Zinnia is a single orange flower that has combatted mold and the gravity in the space station. During the same time frame Zinnia’s were also grown on Ground Control as a control element so that they can see what differences the space Zinnia will have compared to the Zinnia we know when we go outside the door.

The good thing about Zinnia’s is that they are easy to grow generally and are actually edible. Though replanting is a bad idea, which we hope the guys on the ISS know that, they are typically a hardy flower that can hold its own. This is a good step to forward in the future of the space travel and cultivation for all of us. It has been an amazing journey and this opens a new opportunity for florals. Who knows, maybe soon we will be able to set reservations for Space Flowers to be delivered to our doors. They would have to be perennials depending on where they were harvested but maybe we can find that out next NASA.

A bouquet of space Zinnia’s is not in the near future for anyone. Here on Earth you will be able to get some beautiful flowers in Hudson, NH, but nothing that exotic. For now, we can just admire the photos that Scott Kelly shares with the world from the ISS of his blooming orange Zinnia.

Contact For Floral Arrangements 603.889.9903