Wish Your Flowers Would Last Longer? Try these Tips

Fresh flowers are a sure-fire way to brighten the day or add sparkle to any celebration. Here are 15 pro tips to help them thrive in the vase:

How to Select Fresh Flowers

Wouldn’t it be fabulous if our beautiful bouquets lasted forever. Alas, they’ll likely be with us for only about a week. And that is if they are fresh when purchased and well cared for at home. Generally, it takes about 48 hours for flowers to make it from field to purveyor, then they need to be arranged and put on display. Selecting a popular shop will limit the time flowers remain on the shelf, which means more time to enjoy their beauty.

Check their petals and leaves. Flowers with faded colors, wilted or transparent petals, or edges that are turning brown are on their way out. Choose flowers with healthy, fresh, green leaves, and with petals that appear hydrated and vibrant. Here’s a trick for selecting daisies. Hold the flower parallel to the ground. If the petals slope downward below the head, the flower is no longer fresh. 

Check their stems. If they are turning yellow, brown, are bending or are slimy, this is a sign of a flower that’s seen better days. If the end of the stem is getting soft, this means it’s been a while since it was last cut. Choose flowers with strong stems which will be able to absorb water and nutrients. 

Are they budding? Choosing flowers where the blooms are just beginning to open will add days over those that are fully open. Also check for loose pollen, which is a sign that the flowers are further in their cycle. 

Longer lasting flowers: Certain varietals are known to outlast others in a vase. Lilies, chrysanthemums, gladiolas, sunflowers, stock flowers, cone flowers, alstroemeria, birds of paradise, carnations and while zinnias can beautifully hold up for two or more weeks under the right conditions.

Prepare your Flowers

As soon as you’re able, you’ll want to get the flowers in a vase; they should be out of water for the least amount of time possible. Flowers prefer water that is 80° to 110°F – it should feel neither too hot nor too cold to touch out of the faucet. 

Cut the stems on an angle, which increases the surface area that is able to absorb water.

Trim any leaves that are below water line. This helps prevent bacteria from growing, and the stems from more rapidly decomposing.

Add a few drops of bleach or vodka to the water. This will inhibit the growth of bacteria.

Feed your Flowers 

Cut flowers will no longer receive nutrients from soil; flowers require feeding. Many bouquets come with nutrient packets. Or you may make your own flower food by adding a big squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a dash of sugar to the water in your vase, which will act as an energy source.

Care for your Flowers

Refresh the water every couple of days to prevent it from looking cloudy and to limit bacteria growth. To do so, empty and wash your vase with warm soapy water, rinse and replenish with lukewarm water and additional flower food.

When you refresh the water, also re-trim the stems to help with water absorption.  

Cut flowers prefer to be kept in a cool spot out of direct sunlight. Heat can cause the flowers to wilt and more quickly degrade.

Don’t place your vase near your fruit bowl. Fruits and vegetables release ethylene gas, which can speed up the wilting process. 

Flowers like humidity; misting them once daily with a spray bottle can help the petals stay hydrated.

Don’t let one rotten flower spoil the bunch. Remove any decaying stem or leaf to prevent them from passing along harmful bacteria to the other stems. Selectively pruning flowers as they droop will help your bouquet remain beautiful and fresh. 

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