When people find out I am a floral designer and one-time flower shop owner, they often ask how they can make their flowers last longer at home. Today, I am sharing the florist’s secrets to getting flowers to stay fresh longer! Once flowers are cut, they are already dead, so the key is in prolonging their freshness as long as possible! Here’s how:
1. A big part of long-lasting cut flowers is in the selection. When shopping for fresh flowers or harvesting them, look for vibrant green, firm, leaves and bright, sturdy blossoms. Don’t choose stems with rotten leaves or soft stems or blossoms that are all the way blown open.
2. If you are harvesting flowers straight from a garden, clip them early in the morning or in the evening when they are the most hydrated. Never harvest in the blaring sunshine or the middle of a hot day!
3. Once you’ve cut your flowers or purchased them from a market, stick them straight into water. Then, re-cut the stems at an angle. Cutting on an angle gives the flower a larger surface in which to take in water.
4. After re-cutting, let your flowers sit in water for a few hours before working with them. Flowers should be as hydrated as possible before you start arranging.
5. Use clean clippers, a clean vase, and clean water. You can also toss a little flower food in, or a tiny drop of bleach. The key is to keep bacteria to a minimum.
6. Remove leaves under the water line. There should be no foliage or blossoms in the water because this increases bacteria.
7. Refresh the water daily. Stick the vase under the faucet, and let the water run through until it’s fresh again.
8. Keep your arrangement out of bright sunlight, away from heaters and air conditioners. Flowers last longest in a cool, dark place.
9. If you like to have fresh flowers in your home every week, but are working on a budget, consider using greens! Greens like boxwood, myrtle, and pittosporum will last for a couple of weeks at least. Use these as a base, and then just switch out the flowers!
10. Take out any dead blossoms or leaves as your arrangement ages. This will help keep the others fresher for longer. The death process speeds up when flowers are exposed to other rotten plants or fruit, which give off an ethylene gas.
And, last but not least. I actually think dead flowers are pretty. Call me crazy, but the romance of flowers is in their fleeting nature. I think peony petals falling all over my table of books in my living room is incredibly charming. I adore violets, which were forced from the cut flower industry because they only live for three days. Consider the fleeting nature to be part of the beauty and enjoy it!
Any questions? Leave in the comments! Happy flower arranging!
Photo: Chelsea Fuss. Flowers: Manor Farm Cottage Flowers. Taken in Somerset, England.