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It’s always nice to receive a flower arrangement or a beautiful bouquet as a gift. It is also lovely to send them! The good news is that if you tend to cut flowers with care, you can preserve the sweet smell of colorful life for at least five days.
Professionals can send flowers around the world nowadays – for example these guys often discuss how to send flowers to Germany from the United States – a colossal distance. So, if you follow our tips, you can delight in the knowledge that the extended life of the flowers was only possible because you took steps to ensure so.
So, here are our 7 tips to make your cut flowers last longer:
1. Proper hydration is key
While supplying flowers with enough water seems obvious, even I’m guilty of allowing a vase (or two) to dry up due to forgetfulness. If you are not good at sticking to a strict regimen or lack the time, at least make sure you top up your vases with fresh water before you leave your home each morning.
And, be sure to keep following two points in mind if you buy any fresh bunches when out:
- a) Collect them after you have finished the rest of your shopping in a bid to reduce the time they spend out of water. Shake them firmly and reject any bunches that drop petals.
- b) Have pruners, a bucket, and a bottle of water in your car. Then, submerge the flower stems in water and cut around half an inch off each stem at a 45-degree angle. Discard the cuttings and secure your flowers in the bucket with a four-inch water level for the journey home.
2. Clean stems = Clear water
Regardless of the size, type, or color of the arrangement, keeping the vase water clean is essential.
If you remove all the leaves from stems, vase water will stay cleaner for longer. A good florist will always remove the lower leaves, so none of them end up submerged in water where they will only decay and foul the vase fluid. It doesn’t matter if you buy a market bouquet or use foliage from your back garden to create an arrangement, you should always remove the lower leaves before placing the stems in a vase.
3. Take note of the temperature
For most species, cut floral arrangements thrive in cool environments. So, be sure to keep your fresh flowers out of direct sunlight and away from sources of heat, like ovens and radiators.
Let’s look at tulips as an example: Tulips will continue to grow even after they have been cut. The flowers really do take on a mind of their own!
To tame their wanderlust, be sure to rotate vases each day.
The only exception to keeping arrangements in cool environments is if they have not yet blossomed.
Whenever I buy lilies or roses with tightly closed buds, I make sure to place them in warm locations until they blossom. After they bloom, I transfer them to a cooler setting. If you buy a mixed arrangement, try to separate the stems and put the unopened one in a separate vase in a warm location until they open before returning them to the rest of the bunch.
Note: Tips 4 and 5 are linked. Trimming and water changing are essential for proper hydration and the inhibition of bacteria growth that can cause rot.
4. Conduct trimming daily
Cut flowers last longer when the stems are trimmed every day.
For vase arrangements, all you need to do is lift up the entire bouquet, hold the stems under a cold running tap and snip the ends. Be sure to use sharp pruners and remove around half an inch off each stem using a cut at 45-degrees. The angle of the cut is important as it maximizes water uptake potential.
A vase with an intricate design is best refreshed daily as a water change will ensure the removal of any decaying material.
Intricate containers that have arrangements stationed in florist foam are generally best left intact. With less complex arrangements, it might be possible to remove individual stems, trim as instructed above, and reinsert stems back into the foam.
5. Change the vase water daily
Vases should be cleaned with a mild detergent and you should take care to wipe away all residue that could harbor bacteria.
If your bouquet came with flower food sachets, empty the sachet contents into the vase before adding cold tap water for it to dissolve into. Return trimmed stems into the clean vase. Fill the vase until the water level is just below the first leaves.
For arrangements that have florist’s foam, you can carefully tip the container to pour out dirty water. If you can access the inside, wipe it with a moist disposable cloth. Dissolve the packet of flower food in a small jar with tap water then pour the mixture onto the foam until it is fully saturated.
Do you often decorate your home with flowers from your own garden or bouquets from the local farmer’s market? If the place you obtain your flowers from doesn’t provide flower food packets, you can buy sachets of Chrysal flower food from Amazon.
While the exact ingredients of Chrysal flower food remain an industry secret, they almost certainly consist of sucrose, powdered bleach, and citric acid.
6. Remove deadheads and decaying leaves
Different types of cut flowers age at differing rates. Look for signs of deterioration and take action at the time of your daily water changes and trims.
The daisies featured in the above wildflower arrangement have already started to deteriorate and require removal or deadheading. Deadhead blossoms with dropping petals, and remove all leaves that are withering or turning yellow. You can carefully pinch off drooping outer rose petals to expose the tighter inner folds.
If a large proportion of a bouquet is decayed, remove entire stems from the arrangement and transfer the healthy stems to a smaller vase.
When it comes to vases containing florist’s foam, removing entire stems can leave big gaps. You can fill those gaps with new material, such as evergreen varieties. Just be sure to cut the stems at 45-degree while they are submerged in water before insertion.
7. Spritz container-free arrangements
Cumbersome foliage pieces and floral arrangements that aren’t stationed in traditional containers or vases also need regular hydration to retain freshness. I find it useful to use a spritz bottle filled with tap water to moisten wreathes, orchid garnishes, evergreen swags, and garlands.
If you are looking for a commercial alternative to a regular old spritz bottle, you can check out Crowning Glory on Amazon. The product not only provides containerless arrangements with moisture, but it also retards decay. It should be noted, however, that the product can’t be used on flowers that will be stationed next to food.