Caring For Your Flowers

We know you want your flowers to last as long as possible - we want that, too! But like most beautiful things, there’s often a lot of behind-the-scenes work being done to look that good.

Here are some tricks of the trade to keep your blooms looking fresh and lasting long.

  1. Always make sure your vase or vessel is clean. Wash with warm water and delicate soap before use, and every other day. Make sure there is no soap left before using.

  2. Use those flower food packets. Yes, really. We avoided these for years until we read up on them and learned that these little packets are actually critical in extending the life of your blooms. It has the right blend of antibacterial agents, a sugar source for food, and an acidifier that will extend the life of your flowers. This is your best bet rather than home remedies as it ensures you’ll get the proportions correct.

  3. Change water and cut stems at least twice per week-- and correctly. Cut off half an inch to an inch of the stems at a diagonal using sharp shears or a knife. If possible, cut when your stems are submerged under water to prevent air bubbles from getting into the stems and blocking the flow of water.

  4. Keep those stems clean. Remove any leaves or florets that would sit in water to avoid bacterial buildup. Also be sure to clip any dead leaves or florets to make room for the fresh ones.

  5. Make a perfect home. Flowers are just as temperamental as humans. Keep them out of direct sunlight, which may cause stress, and instead opt for normal indoor lighting; avoid drafty areas or direct proximity to appliances, which may emit heat and cause flowers to dehydrate; and keep flowers away from fruit and other plants, which may give off ethylene, causing flowers to prematurely wilt.

  6. Embrace your flowers’ individuality. Flowers are not generic, so they should not be treated in a generic way. Different varieties require specific TLC but here are a couple of helpful things to keep in mind:

    1. Tulips grow a few inches after they are cut and will continue to grow toward the closest light source.

    2. Daffodils should not be put in a vase with other flowers. They secrete a substance that kills other flowers when in the same vase.

    3. “Woody” varieties like some hydrangeas and lilac, should have their stems gently smashed at the end and immersed in ice water before arranging. Or, alternatively, make a cut up the stem as well.

    4. Hollow-stemmed flowers like delphiniums do well if you turn the flowers upside down, fill the stems with water, and seal them with a wet cotton ball before arranging.

    5. Poppies, and other flowers that ooze sap, last longer if you first immerse the bottom 2 inches of their stems in boiling water for 10 seconds.

Sydne Leavitt