Everyone loves receiving flowers or maybe you just love buying them for yourself. However, it’s not always that clear on the best way to look after them.
Summer flowers can often be a little on the “tender” side and do not always last as long as others, especially when the outside temperature is on the up. However, with the right practices you can make a big difference!
Here’s my Top 10 for keeping your blooms fresher for longer.
1. Always use a clean vase. Harmful bacteria can build up very quickly when an unclean vessel is used. Clean out ceramic and glass vases with mild detergent and warm water. Rinse thoroughly and dry well.
2. Use the flower food that should be provided. When you receive flowers, or buy flowers, from a reputable florist, a sachet or two of specific flower food solution should be included. If not, ask for some! Follow the instructions on the sachet and be careful not to overdose!
3. Remove any leaves that sit below the water line. This will help reduce any potential bacterial build up in the water. It won’t erradicate it totally but it’s a massive help.
4. Cut the stems at an angle with a sharp knife or garden snips for woody stems. By cutting at an angle you are exposing more of the internal cell structure in the stem, and it is this that takes the water up the stem. A sharp knife is the preferred tool of choice here as it produces a nice clean cut without crushing the stem at all. Harder, woodier stems are okay to be cut with snips or secateurs.
5. Replace the water every other day. A minuscule amount of sterilizing solution will help if no flower food is left but be careful not to overdo it!
6. Recut the stems by about 1-2cm each time you change the water This helps refresh the drinking mechanism of each stem. Flowers that are cut down to short stems will last longer - quite simply the water doesn’t have to travel as far to reach the flower!
7. Avoid placing your flowers in direct sunlight or near any heat source. It seems fairly obvious, but this is often overlooked. Direct sun will have a massively detrimental effect of the life of your flowers as will any heat source nearby.
8. Remove any wilting leaves or flower heads. This will encourage new buds to develop. Quite often the leaves on a stem of flowers are sapping the flower of it’s water supply, so removing them will help. Also, as individual blooms wilt on a stem, removing them will not only look nicer any slightly more immature blooms may be more encouraged to flourish!
9. If roses flag at the head, cut the stem with a sharp knife and place it in 2cm of boiling water to force any air block out, then put it back in deep cold water. This is the most common cause of concern with roses. When a stem is out of water for any length of time, the internal stem structure is still trying to draw hydration up it’s stem. Of course when the stem is out of water, only air can be “sucked” up the stem, hence the air block. Other flowers can suffer in the same way as this, particularly those with woody stems.
10. Keep your flowers away from fruit. Ethylene gas is produced by fruit as it ripens and this has the same ripening effect on cut flowers. Fruits such as tomatoes, bananas and apple all produce high levels of the gas and therefore they will encourage the flower to up it’s own ethylene production and will cause more rapid aging.
Of course, you may have your own ways of helping your flowers last just that little be longer? If so, we would love to hear of any others tips and tricks that have made a difference!
David Ragg – Lansdowne Florist. Bournemouth’s only Town Centre Florist!