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Tips From A Pro: A Florist's Guide To Long Lasting Flowers

Fresh Flower Care Tips

Not too many things brighten a mood or a room better than fresh cut flowers. Whether picked from your garden or delivered by your favorite local florist for a special occasion, a beautiful flower bouquet lifts the spirits of everyone around.  With a little extra care, your flowers can last up to a few weeks in a vase, continuing to add a little extra beauty to your space. Use these simple care tips to get the biggest bang for your flower buck.

1. Keep Your Flowers Away from Direct Sunlight and Heat Sources

Your flowers will last longer if kept away from direct sunlight and sources of heat such as register vents or appliances that generate heat. Keeping the flowers cool will help prolong their beauty. In addition to heat from a register vent, cooling vents and fans blowing on flowers will accelerate dehydration, also shortening the life of your cut flowers. Avoiding these sources of heat and directed air flow will help your flowers stay fresh longer.

2. Cut Your Flower Stems Every Couple Days

This is most likely the least performed and most beneficial flower care step. It's easily neglected because quality cut flowers from a reputable florist will last a week or two with minimal maintenance, depending on a handful of variables.  You can keep your flowers looking fresher and lasting longer by cutting stems and changing the water every couple days. The trick is to cut the stems at roughly a 45-degree angle, removing about an inch from the end. The newly cut flower stem needs to be placed in water as fast as possible to ensure it can continue to uptake water and nutrients. The water should be changed when you cut the stems to prevent bacterial growth. If you pull your flowers from the vase, empty the water and wipe the vase clean, you can refill it with lukewarm water (100-110°F) and place your flowers back in immediately as you cut the stems. Any leaves that will be below the water line of the container must be removed to prevent accelerated bacterial growth.

3. Use Fresh Flower Food

There are many concoctions purported to make your flowers last longer. Some have minimal merit while others are just plain silly. Nothing works as well as commercially produced flower food. There is a lot of science behind the formulation, all targeting the specific needs of vased cut flowers.  The basics of the mixture include sucrose for a food supply, an acidifier to encourage better water uptake by the flower stems, a bacterial inhibitor to kill the bacteria that forms from feeding on the sucrose, and agents to draw out impurities in the water which allow them to settle in the vase rather than being drawn into the flower stem clogging the nutrient pathway. Follow the instructions on the nutrient pack and always use the recommended amount. Using too much flower nutrient can be as harmful as not adding enough. So, what do you do if you don't have commercial flower food? As a "better than nothing" approach, you can use one of these flower preservation solution recipes. The first formula calls for mixing a can of a non-diet citrus soda with 3 cans of water and 1.2 ml of household bleach (contents of 1 to 1 ½ drops). The second formula calls for 2 tablespoons of fresh lime or lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1/2 tablespoon of bleach and 1 quart of water. Mix the ingredients and the solution is ready for the cut flowers. These solutions contain the major active ingredients necessary for a good preservative solution, i.e. sugar, citric acid, and a biocide.

The Takeaway

With about five minutes of effort every couple of days you can prolong the life of your fresh cut flower arrangement, possibly doubling the life of your fresh blooms. Don't be afraid to pluck wilted petals or remove dead flowers as time goes on. This helps direct nutrients to healthy stems and prevents excess bacterial growth.  Following these simple practices will keep your flowers thriving longer, adding an air of elegance to your space. Need to send flowers to someone special? Shop our flower selection or call us for something custom. We'll make sure you get exactly what you're looking for.