Do you love receiving flowers, but hate how they always seem to die so quickly? Well, worry no more! In this article, I’ll share my tips after years of being a florist to help keep your flowers fresh longer!
Clean the flower vase
A clean vase helps flowers last longer because it reduces the chances of bacteria growth. When bacteria grow in the water, they release gases that can shorten the life of the flowers. In addition, a clean vase provides a more aesthetically pleasing display for your flowers. Dust and dirt can build up in a vase over time, making it look dull and cloudy. Taking the time to clean your vase will ensure that your flowers look their best and last as long as possible.
Get a vase that is the right size
Continuing with the vase, another tip is to make sure the vase is the right size. If the vase is too large, the stems will have to support more flower heads, which can cause them to droop. If the vase is too small, the stems will be cramped and the flowers won’t be able to get the water they need. The best way to prolong the life of your flowers is to choose a vase that is just big enough for the stems. That way, they’ll have all the support they need, without being crowded.
Fill the vase with fresh cold water
A hotly debated topic is whether cold or warm water should be used to maximize the life of flowers.
The reasoning for using lukewarm comes from the belief that powdered flower food will dissolve better than cool water. The powder will dissolve just fine in cold water and fresh cold water helps keep the temperature lower, which is essential to extending the life of your flowers.
Cut the stems
Cutting the stems allows the flower to take in more water and prevents the stem from being blocked by air bubbles.
First, make sure you have a sharp knife, scissors, or set of garden shears. This will help to prevent crushing the stem, which can damage the flower. Make sure to sterilize them with rubbing alcohol first, otherwise, you run the risk of introducing harmful bacteria to the flower.
Second, cut the flowers at a 45-degree angle, rather than straight across at least 1/2 inch from the bottom of the stems. This will help the flower to draw water more easily.
Prune the bouquet
After filling the vase with cool water, remove any leaves that will be below the water line, as these can rot and pollute the water.
Change the water every few days
Regularly changing the water will help to prevent bacteria from build-up, which can cause bacteria to spread and shorten the life of your flowers.
Add flower food to the water
Flower food is a powder or liquid that is added to the water in a vase. It contains nutrients that help the flowers last longer.
The three main ingredients in flower food are:
- Sugar, which provides the flowers with energy;
- Acid, which lowers the pH of the water and prevents bacteria from growing; and
- Bleach, kills bacteria.
In addition to these three ingredients, flower food also often contains other substances, such as colorants and fragrances. While not essential, these extras can help to enhance the appearance and smell of the flowers.
If you don’t have the packets of flower food you can mix up:
- 1 crushed aspirin (to lower the pH level of the water)
- 1 tablespoon of sugar or clear soda
- 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon of bleach; and
- Either a penny or a few drops of vodka or another clear spirit, which acts as a natural acidifier to fight bacterial growth.
Keep the flowers in a cool place and away from sunlight and drafts
Flowers are susceptible to heat damage, and even a short period of exposure to sunlight can cause wilting and discoloration. Also, avoid placing flowers near heat sources such as vents or radiators to prolong their life and prevent them from drying out.
With the exception of tropical flowers that prefer higher heat and humidity, indirect sunlight is typically best for flowers because it helps preserve the blooms as opposed to bright, direct sunlight and heat.
Many flowers will also keep a few days longer by putting them in a refrigerator, though be sure to keep them away from fruits and vegetables as those emit ethylene gas which will harm the flowers.
By following these simple tips, you can ensure that your fresh-cut flowers stay healthy and beautiful for as long as possible. We hope you will take the time to give your flowers the TLC they deserve and enjoy their beauty for a long time to come!