Since Valentine’s Day is around the corner and many of us will be giving and receiving cut flowers, I thought it was an appropriate time for a post on long lasting cut flowers. What does that mean? All the crazy little tips and tricks to keep your flowers alive and beautiful for as long as possible.
Once your flowers arrive plunge them into water ASAP to keep them hydrated. If time permits recut the stems quickly with a sharp knife. I usually wind up waiting to do this until I’m going to arrange them (someone has to open the champagne), but the ideal is a quick, sharp cut (and this is a case of do as I say, not as I do, since I usually grab scissors).
When you’re ready to arrange them, re-cut yet again at a very sharp angle (more surface area allows for more water to be drawn into the stem) and preferably underwater. Yes, I know that sounds crazy, but it prevents those little cells from being blocked by an air bubble which then prevents water uptake. Just fill a bucket or basin with a few inches of water and go to work. I will sometimes cut them under running water hoping it helps. It makes me feel like I tried if nothing else.
Cut the stems a bit everyday if time allows. Also remember to remove all the leaves that would be below the water line. All they’ll do is sit and fester which is not a good thing for the water your flowers are taking up.
Add floral food if you have it or if the flowers had it tucked in their box. If you don’t have flower food, a drip of bleach, half an aspirin or a bit of apple cider vinegar will all keep bacteria at bay and a bit of sugar or even a splash of a soda like Sprite will give the flowers some needed sugar.
Change your water daily and remember that water temperature makes a difference to your flowers. Warm water will open the blossoms quickly, while cold water or even ice cubes will slow the process down. You can also refrigerate flowers if you need to stall their opening. I’ve found this works really well with peonies in the summer. It’s crazy how long you can keep them if you have refrigerator space.
Misting flowers (my children LOVE to do this) and keeping them in a cooler room will also preserve their lives, but I usually have mine on the kitchen or dining room table where it’s warm as can be. Once again, do as I say, not as I do…
Mixing different flowers, fruit stems, greens etc. can shorten the life of your arrangement. This is probably more relevant to flowers cut at home, but some will secrete substances that will kill other flowers in the vase. A daffodil emits a slimy goo that will kill just about anything else sitting in the vase with it so remember to keep them by themselves.
In the summer if you’re cutting your own flowers from the garden, pick ones with the buds only partially open and do so in the early morning when the flowers have the most water in them. They’re not yet stressed from a day in the sun.
And just a link to a cool florist who’s work is amazing… ATELIER BOTANIQUE FRANÇOISE WEEKS She does some really amazing things with flowers and woodland elements.
Enjoy the weekend everyone!