The fleeting beauty of fresh cut flowers is a part of what makes them wonderful and precious. Having said that, we often get asked how to keep flowers fresh, to make them last as long as they possibly can.
This is never more true than when you have treated yourself to a beautiful Florist bought creation, or even better when a much loved person has splashed out for you. This is when knowing just a little bit of cut flowers care can help to prolong the memory and occasion. As Florists for many years all the girls here at A Touch of Class understand how special fresh flowers can be. We would love to share with you a little of what we have learnt about caring for our beautiful blooms. Follow our simple steps on how to keep your flowers fresh and extend their vase life.
The Basics of Cut Flowers Care
There are many weird and wonderful tales about how to care for your cut stems but for now we will give you the simple basics of flower care that we use every day.
- Clean your vase thoroughly, to ensure that there are no bacterial nasties to shorten your flower’s life. Vinegar and water with a little bit of good old elbow grease is a good environmentally sensitive way to do this. If you don’t have any vinegar any dishwashing soap should do it just make sure to rinse your vase after.
- Strip off the leaves to just above the water line to help keep the water clean. Greenery left in the water may go mouldy fairly quickly and this will shorten your flower’s lifespan.
- Change the water regularly. This will help keep the build up of any bacteria and other nasties at a minimum. Frequently checking them also ensures that your flowers have enough water particularly in hotter weather.
- Cut the stems at an angle to give a bigger surface area and prevent the ends from sitting flat on the bottom potentially blocking the stem. Cut the stems every few days to keep the ends clean and to enable water movement up the stems.
- Unwrap your flowers from any packaging! We know Florist bouquets look beautiful in their wrapping as they are designed to be. However, they are meant to be a temporary home for your flowers. Of course if they have been arranged in a glass vase or floral foam they may be left in these but remove any wrapping from around your bouquets please.
- Keep your flowers out of direct sunlight. Preferably in a moderate to cool location, also avoiding strong draughts. Strong sunlight or heat may cause your flowers to wilt before their time. As well as encouraging the growth of any resident bacteria.
- Display flowers away from fresh fruit. Ripening fruit may release small amounts of ethylene gas which will age your flowers faster. Dying flowers in the bunch may also do this so it is a good idea, if possible, to remove any flowers as they die to keep the others alive longer.
The Simple Souls
Some flowers are not the most friendly of blooms and are best displayed as single stems or as a bunch of just themselves. The most readily available of these in Perth, is the lovely and cheerful Daffodil. This may extend to other varieties and types such as Jonquils and Narcissi. The reason they are not so friendly is that they release small amounts of latex from their cut stems that other flowers do not enjoy. There are however, ways around this!
If you cut the Daffodil’s stem and then leave them in some water for a few hours (we have been told anywhere from 1 hour to 12 hours depending on who you listen to!) and then do not re-cut the stem they should be ok to mix with other blooms. Alternatively you may be able to buy a special bulb cut flower food to make them safe to mix. We have not tried this so don’t know if it works. As Daffodils are such a seasonal flower here in Perth, and not expensive, why not display them to their full potential in a vase on their own without worrying about trying to mix or fix them! Enjoy them for what they are!
There are some flowers that whilst they start life with a beautiful scent or just not much of one, may quickly turn to something less desirable if they are not adequately cared for in your home. With a little care they are beautiful additions to your table and should not be shied away from, they simply require more frequent changes of water to keep them smelling their best. There are a couple of offenders in this category but any flowers left too long in the same water may take a foul smelling turn.
Keep and eye out for stunning ornamental Kale and beautiful Stocks. They are both members of the Brassica Family and those of you who love to grow veggies will know that this family includes Cabbages and Broccoli. Whilst Ornamental Kale and Stocks are not for eating if left in the same water for too long they will smell similar to Cabbage. Proteas and Australian Native flowers love to drink water and will require frequent top ups so keep an eye on them. They also have a tendency to become a little on the nose if their water is not frequently changed.
Now onto the often talked about but not necessarily scientifically tested ideas about cut flowers care. As mentioned there are many weird and wonderful tales that get around about how to make your flowers last longer. Some of these include putting sugar, bleach or coffee grains into your flower’s water. There are also many commercial flower foods on the market that you are welcome to try. We honestly think the best way to prolong the life of your flowers is to follow the basics as set out above. At A Touch of Class Florist we try to keep things as simple and natural as possible so the flowers maintain the positive energy, they inherently have from nature, in your home.
If you ever have any questions about caring for your flowers send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a quick call on 9256 2415 and we will happily share what knowledge we have with you.
Just remember part of what makes cut flowers so beautiful and precious is the fact that they won’t last for ever! Embrace the temporary nature of the joy they bring.