How to take care of your fresh blooms

Flower Care Tips for keeping healthy long lasting blooms!

If the temp outside is below 38 degrees flowers and plants must be wrapped. 

Yes flowers like cool temps to last longer but just like most things perishable, freezing temps will kill and turn to mush your beautiful blooms. If you ever get a flower delivery from a shop and the flowers are already browning call the shop right away for a replacement. Chances are if it's cold they got the snap and won't live to see the next day. 

Change the water frequently. Fresh water entirely every 2 days is ideal.

Flowers drink a lot of water! It is not uncommon for a large flower arrangement to suck up all the water in a vase within the first day or two you have it at home. Keep the vase full to ensure the flowers do not dry out and wilt. Flowers are also highly susceptible to bacteria that builds up as stems sit in the water. By changing the water in the vase every few days, even if the water hasn’t been used up, will help keep your flowers fresh longer. For larger arrangements, carefully tip the vase over a sink to let the water drain without altering the design. Then re-fill the vase by gently pouring water in at the top of the flowers.

Cut at least a half inch of stem off your flowers before you put them in a vase and each time you change the water.

By cutting the stems just before placing them in water again, you expose fresh tissue that can suck up the water much more efficiently. When you trim stems when you change the water in the vase a few days later, you remove tissue at the tips that may be breaking down and once again expose fresh tissue that absorbs more water. Make your flowers happy with a fresh drink, they will be sure to pay you back with a long life!

Keep your flowers away from heat and bright light.

Sometimes people think they should set their vase of flowers in a sunny windowsill since that is where a plant would be happiest. However, cut flowers are actually the opposite of potted plants. Sun and heat will encourage them to “mature” and make them grow older faster. Instead, keep your cut flowers in a cool darker spot if you would like them to last as long as possible.

Avoid sitting your flowers beside ripening fruit or vegetables, especially bananas and apples. Say What???

Ripening fruit gives off an odorless invisible gas called ethylene. This gas is harmless to humans, but rather deadly to flowers. The science behind it is as such: in the plant world, flowers are the precursor of fruit. Once a flower is pollinate, it begins to develop into a fruit so it can form seeds and start the plant life cycle over again. Ethylene is the gaseous hormone in the plant that induces that flower to drop its petals and become a fruit. As the fruit matures, it continues to give off ethylene. When you sit your vase of flowers next to ripening fruit, you’re exposing them to this gas and they will decide they’d better drop their petals the way Nature intended.

After you throw out your last arrangement, be sure to wash the vase/container very thoroughly in hot soapy water to disinfect any bacteria. 

Bacteria build up in dirty vases and do not go away just because the vase dries out. As soon as you add water again, the vase will once again be full of bacteria and your new bouquet will be subjected to the same bacteria that killed the last bouquet. Give your flowers a fresh clean environment free of bacteria and they will last much longer.

Use “flower food” for most flowers but not all flowers.

While changing the water every other day or so is often just as effective for making flowers last longer, adding those flower food packets that come with packaged flowers are beneficial as well. This is especially true if you’re forgetful/lazy and won’t be changing your flowers’ water regularly. In addition to “feeding” the bouquet, these food packets contain a bactericide that keeps the water fresh for a day or two longer. You can make your own flower food by adding about 1 teaspoon of sugar, 2 teaspoons of lemon juice and a 1 teaspoon of bleach to your vase before adding about a quart of warm tap water. It is worth noting that there are a few flowers that actually do NOT like flower food in the vase. Some of these are: zinnias, sunflowers and glads. Also bulb flowers could go without. 

Use sharp scissors when cutting.

If you use dull old scissors or snips to trim your flowers, you are often smashing, and thus damaging, the tissue/cells at the end of the stem. Damaged cells cannot absorb water as effectively as healthy cells. Sharp scissors ensure a clean cut that leaves cells unharmed (except the poor few that inevitably get sliced).

Photos by Lisa O'dwyer, Hair and make-up by Janie Rocek