Flower care basics

Follow these steps to ensure your flowers last as long as possible at home.
Step 1
Use a clean vase, cold water and flower food.
Step 2
Cut 1-2cm off the bottom of each stem on an angle before placing in the vase.
Step 3
Remove all the foliage below the water line
Step 4
Keep out of direct sunshine, draughts and away from a fruit bowl
Step 5
Change the water every couple of days

All the bouquets I sell should last at least five days at home with care and some flowers are lasting around two weeks. 

To help the flowers last as long as possible with you, some flowers are sold quite tightly shut, these should open at home.

Remember, flowers are for decorative purposes only.

Advanced flower care

Obviously, all cut flowers are going to die at some point because they have been cut off the plant. So how do we make them look amazing for as long as possible?

Flower type

One of the biggest factors influencing how long flowers last is the type of flower. Chrysanthemums and carnations last up to three weeks in a vase so represent really good value.

Other flowers, such as poppies, only have a vase life of five days at a maximum, yet are truly beautiful. In each bouquet there should be a mix of both flowers so that you get the most gorgeous flowers and value.    As I only make bouquets fortnightly the best thing you can do is to buy them on the first day they are available so that they are the freshest possible. 

Also, don’t be afraid to buy the flowers if some of them are quite closed up; you’ll get to see them opening at home over the next few days.

Bacteria

After flower type, the thing that will probably kill flowers the quickest is being out of water and I think we can all manage to put water in a vase for them! 

Once in water the major battle is against bacteria. Bacteria are on everything and in water so they will be taken up by the flowers as they drink.

Flowers take up water through lots of really thin tubes (like straws) in their stem. Each one is really narrow so as soon as bacteria get into these tubes and start multiplying they block the tube and the flower can’t take up water, then of course your flowers die.

To slow the growth of bacteria:

Feed me!

We know flowers need water but did you know they need food too?

Flowers will last for a while in just water but if you want them to look their best and last even longer then you need to feed them.

Imagine if you just had water and no food for three days – you might survive but you certainly wouldn’t be feeling or looking your best!

We also need to help flowers take up the water and food. To do this we cut a bit of the stem off before putting them in the vase. The reason for this is because even when they are out of water the flowers will still be trying to drink all that water with their stem straws.

This means air bubbles can get in the stem and when this air bubble reaches the flower head it acts as a barrier stopping any more water being taken up and therefore killing the flower.

This is what has happened if your rose heads have flopped over after a couple of days.

Next, when you cut the stem, cut it at an angle, this does two things. Firstly, it stops a flat stem sitting on the bottom of the vase and essentially stopping the water getting in. Secondly if you cut it on an angle there is a greater surface area exposed to take up the water.

With very woody stems it also helps to split the stem for about 2cm to really increase the surface area.

You can recut the stems every couple of days to help even more – this gets rid of the end which will have some bacteria growth on it and opens up the surface area again.

So, after that, what we need to do is:

Other Stresses

There are lots of other things that will shorten the vase life of your flowers.

If the flowers are too hot or sitting on a sunny windowsill this could stress them as they are unable to take up water fast enough – even flowers in the garden wilt on hot days.

This is also true when the flowers are out of water, so if they have sat in a hot car on the way home they will be stressed. Cooling them down will help to make sure they recover and last as long as possible.

In a similar way cold can also stress the flowers and stop them opening. This is because they go into a sort of dormancy and not all flowers can be triggered to start opening again once they have been dormant.

You may not know it but your fruit bowl could also be having an impact, most people know that bananas help other fruit to ripen and they do the same thing to flowers – its almost like an energy burst so they will open really quickly but then die. Bananas are not the only fruit to do this however so best to play it safe.

Thinking of all that the best place for your flowers is:

Special requirements

Some flowers need special treatment to last in a vase and some don’t play nicely with others. Because I want you to enjoy your flowers with the minimum of fuss, I wouldn’t usually include these in bouquets.

Some of the exceptions are daffodils and narcissus have a lot of sap in the stems which can actually poison other flowers. In an ideal world you would just have a vase of these separately.

But, as we like them with other flowers the best thing is to recut the stems and let them sit in a vase of water for half an hour (as this is about how long the stems will ooze sappy stuff for) and then add in to your bouquet with other flowers.

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