There is nothing more beautiful than a vase overflowing with beautiful flowers. A fresh bouquet can cheer up any space and leave a lasting impression. You’ll want to enjoy them for as long as possible, but the sad truth is that flowers don’t last forever. You may be discouraged when your flowers start to wilt after a few days. If you’re looking for a way to make those Valentine’s Day roses, graduation bouquet, or anniversary arrangements stay fresh and perky for a few more days, here are a few tips.
Cut the Stems/Pruning
A big mistake people make when receiving flowers is forgetting to cut the stems. Flowers have a vascular system in their stems that draws up water and nutrients to feed the blooms. If you don’t cut them, air that is drawn up into the stems while they are out of water can block water absorption. Use very sharp scissors or pruning shears to trim one to two inches off and cut at an angle. The angle helps for better water intake because the flowers are not sitting flat on the bottom of the vase. Once cut, remove any leaves below the water line to prevent bacterial growth. You’ll also want to remove guard petals, which are the two or three outermost petals of flowers like roses. Removing them helps your flower open up fully. After your initial prep, check your flowers daily for dead or loose leaves and petals in order to avoid bacterial rot.
One of the most important things you can do for your flowers is to keep them hydrated. Your cut flowers won’t last long without water, especially when their stems have been cut. Use a clean vase and fill it with water. Arrange your bouquet, then cut the stems and place them in water. Clean your vase thoroughly and change the water every two to three days. Watch the water temperature that you put your flowers in. Hot water will cook them, so room temperature is best for most flowers. The exception is flowers that bloom during the cooler months, like anemones, daffodils, and tulips, which will do better in water that is below room temperature.
Just like hot water will hurt your flowers, so will heat. Place your arrangements in cool spots, away from appliances that generate heat. Another thing to avoid; direct sunlight. While your flowers need a little bit of sunlight, it actually isn’t as beneficial once they aren’t actively growing anymore. Plus, direct sunlight tends to be hot and the extra heat will hurt your flowers more than the sun will benefit them. The water will deplete quicker and the petals vibrant colors will fade as well. You should also avoid placing them need open windows, vents, and ceiling fans as they can cause the flowers to dehydrate quickly. But don’t put them near your fruit bowl either. Ripening fruit releases tiny amounts of ethylene gas, which reduces the longevity of your fresh arrangement.
You may have noticed those little packets that come with floral arrangements. They keep flowers fresh because they contain sugar to provide nourishment, citric acid to keep the pH acidic, which helps water move up the stems faster, and antibacterial powder. You only get one packet, so what do you do when you use it all up and have to change your water? Make your own! Mix together a few drops of bleach or vodka to use as an antibacterial. Then add a few drops of clear soda or superfine sugar to feed the flowers and add a vitamin c tablet to lower the pH. People also swear by things like pennies, aspirin, and hairspray to keep their flowers fresh. Experiment and find out what works best for you!
Stop by Bengert Greenhouses for all of your special occasion flowers. Our greenhouses have been family owned and operated for over 60 years. We pride ourselves on growing outstanding quality flowering plants. Located right in West Seneca, New York, we are situated perfectly to service the entire Western New York region.