How to Make Your Fresh Cut Flowers Last Longer
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1. Buy your flowers directly from the florist—not the grocery store, drug store, or gas station. Yes, they may be cheaper, but that’s because they were cut weeks ago and have been sitting in cold storage ever since.
2. Buy your flowers on Monday as that’s when most florists get in fresh deliveries.
3. The fresher your flowers are when you buy them, the longer you can make them last. If you’re buying roses, look closely at the bottom where the blossom meets the stem. The more petals that have been removed from the outside, the older it is.
4. Remove move all dead, dried, and wilting blossoms. If you let your flowers continue to feed the dying parts, then they won’t have as much energy to feed the healthy parts and this will shorten their lifespan.
5. The end of the stem should look fresh. If it has started to soften and turn brown, you’ll want to cut the stem. You may have to do this every few days. Cut off about one-half inch of the bottom of the stem. Always cut the stem at a forty-five-degree angle, underwater, with a sharp, sterile blade. Use a knife, not scissors, as scissors will crush the stem. A utility knife is perfect. If you have a pair of high-quality garden shears, that will work best.
6. Why should you cut the stem underwater? Inside the stem are tiny little capillaries. These capillaries are hard at work trying to pull water up into the flower. If you cut the stems in the open air, then those little capillaries pull in air instead. The air then gets trapped inside and clogs up the stem. A clogged stem cannot absorb water. So, be a doll and keep the stems immersed in water at all times, okay?
7. The life of flowers that contain sap can be extended by immersing the oozing stems in boiling water for a few seconds; 10 should be enough.
8. Wash your vase with soap and water. Rinse thoroughly.
9. If you’re using florist foam to arrange the flowers, you should let it soak in water until is sinks on its own. Forcing it down, leaves air trapped inside, which will kill your flowers.
10. Water your flowers with lukewarm water. Flowers are delicate and water that is too hot or too cold can shock and kill them.
11. Never water your flowers with softened water. Soft water contains sodium which is bad for flowers.
12. Keep the ends immersed in water at all times and never let your vase get dry. Even a tiny amount of air can negatively impact the health of your flowers. You may be surprised to discover just how much water a tiny flower can drink. Be extra vigilant with the water levels in your vases.
13. Do not allow the blossoms or petals to sit in water. If they’re touching the water, either use less water, or remove a few petals.
14. Do not let the water go stale. Change the water every day or every other day. If you don’t, bacteria can build up in the water and kill your flowers.
15. Use a floral preservative. If you buy your flowers from the florist they’ll give you a packet for free. If you acquired them elsewhere then you may have to purchase it separately. Make sure the labels indicates that it’s intended for fresh cut flowers. Add the preservative every time you change the water.
16. Make your own flower preservative. I’m told that this works much better than the store bought stuff. Mix two tablespoons of real lemon or lime juice, one tablespoon of sugar, one-fourth teaspoon of bleach, and one quart of water. Add an additional one-fourth teaspoon of bleach every four days to keep the water sterile.
17. If nothing else, a few drops of bleach added to the vase water will keep the bacteria from building up and that should be enough to extend the life of your flowers by a few days at least.
18. At night, before you go to bed, move your flowers to a cool location so they can rest too. Only put them in the refrigerator if you’re going to be gone for an extended period of time. Frequently moving them to and from the refrigerator will shorten their life span.
19. Flowers and fruit are not friends. Decaying fruit releases ethylene gas which will kill your pretty flowers. Keep your flowers away from the fruit bowl.
20. Keep your flowers away from direct sunlight and cold drafts. Flowers are delicate and temperature extremes will kill them.
• Don’t buy your flowers from FTD or similar mass flower dealers. Even with a coupon, the prices are outrageous, and what arrives on your doorstep never looks anything like the picture. Patronize a local florist instead; chances are that’s where your FTD flowers came from anyway.
• If you opt to go directly to the florist instead of through a middleman, your flowers will be beautifully prearranged, as opposed to being twist-tied to a cardboard box.
• Instead of keeping the cheap glass vase your flowers came in, consider returning it to the florist for reuse.
• You may be able to find discounts on the weekend, as the inventory is aging and the florist wants to sell it before it dies.
• Other discounts that may be available are senior citizen discounts, and bulk purchase discounts.
That’s it folks. How to keep your fresh cut flowers fresher, longer. Go forth and spruce up your world!