So you’ve just received beautiful flowers (hopefully from us!) and now you want them to last as long as possible, so what do you do? We’re here to share our quick tips for making flowers last longer. Everyone has busy lives and maybe some romantic plans for Valentine’s Day on Friday, so the last thing you want to do is spend a lot of time over a bouquet of flowers. These are the most important care and handling tips to follow:
If your flowers are not delivered in a vase, you’ll want to quickly “process” them. Don’t freak out if they look a little tired and droopy! They just need water to perk right back up!
You’ll want to get the flowers in water as soon as you can. To start, you can leave on any wrap (cardboard, plastic, etc.) that comes wrapped around the flowers for the first 3-4 hours. It’s not absolutely necessary to do, but it does help support the stems upright enabling them to drink up water more easily. Just be sure to keep the wrap from getting wet.
Using a sharp pair of shears, cut at least 1” off each stem and cut on a diagonal (this provides more surface area for the flower to drink water). Sharp shears will ensure a good clean cut and is much safer than using a knife. You may have seen the tip to cut flowers under water, but honestly, it’s a real pain in the butt to do and does not have a dramatic effect on vase life to make it worth doing. You’ll be better off saving your fingers and keeping your tools rust free!
Make sure the vase you’re using is clean. I like to use a little bleach and water to clean mine, but a little dish soap will work too. Just rinse it well and fill it up with clean room temperature water. For most flowers 3” to 4” of water is enough. If you have calla lilies, then use only 1” to 1.5” (too much water makes the stems turn mushy and the callas will die much more quickly).
Remove any leaves or foliage that would fall under the water line. Having these in the water will contribute to bacteria growth and will shorten the vase life of your flowers.
Place the cut flowers into the vase and the flowers will start to hydrate. For most blooms, you’ll start to see them perk up and open up after a day in water.
So you might be asking – what about flower food, bleach, aspirin or all the other things that people say to add to the water to help flowers last longer? Some things, mainly flower food will help. It contains sugar to feed the plant and a fungicide to kill bacteria, but more important is to keep your flowers and vase clean.
That means re-cutting the stems every 2-3 days and rinsing and cleaning out your vase each time and re-filling with clean water. When you’re cleaning your vase, you might feel a little slime on the inside. That’s normal bacteria growth and removing that will be the best thing for your flowers. They’ll thank you for it by lasting a little longer for you!
It might be a pain to clean out the vases every 2-3 days, but this is the best TLC for your flowers that will be much better than bleach, vinegar and other tips that you may have read about. If you do want to add a little something then floral food is best and if you don’t have that, then a bit of lemon-lime soda added to water will have a similar affect.
Lastly, put the vase in a place away from direct sunlight and away from drafts and heat. Also don’t place the flowers next to a bowl of fruit which can give off ethylene, a natural gaseous plant hormone that causes ripening of fruit and also speeds up the aging of flowers.
If you follow these tips, you’ll be able to get most out of your flowers! You should keep in mind that not all flowers are created equal. One thing is how fresh the flower was to begin with. Farm direct flowers will mean you’re getting blooms that were cut just days before (see the journey here). Clearly these will last a lot longer than flowers that have been sitting in a cooler for a week or longer.
Also, some flowers are just sturdier than others. For example, delicate blooms like lily of the valley and sweet peas may last 2-4 days at most (no matter what you do), whereas mini calla lilies could last you up to a couple of months under the right circumstances.
By just keeping these things in mind and following our tips, you’ll be able to maximize your enjoyment of your beautiful blooms. Of course there are many more tricks and tips specific to different varieties, but we’ll save those for another time! If you have any questions, leave a comment or send us a note (firstname.lastname@example.org). We love hearing from you!