Nothing makes me feel more special than when someone (especially hubby) gives me a bunch of stunning flowers. They look beautiful and fill my home with a gorgeous smell. They can die off quickly though so here are some general tips using everyday household items that might keep your bouquet blooming a little longer:
- Always use a clean vase. Simply wash before use with warm soapy water, rinse thoroughly and dry. Alternatively, fill the vase with hot water, add a tablespoon of baking soda and white vinegar, scrub thoroughly, then rinse and dry.
- Place your flowers into warm (not hot) water as soon as possible, rather than leave them lying on the bench in their wrapping. Flowers and their foliage can bruise if wrapped too tightly and leaving them in cellophane can cause them to sweat and wilt quickly.
- Trim each steam to the length required using sharp scissors but don’t cut straight, instead cut each stem diagonally. Cutting the stem diagonally increases the surface area available allowing the flower to absorb more water. At the same time, remove from the bottom of the stem, any leaves that will be below the water line. If left on, these will only rot quickly encouraging the growth of bacteria thereby polluting the water in the vase. Not only will the vase look messy but the rotting foliage will case the water to smell.
- Don’t forget to top up the water level each day to ensure there is enough. Better still changing the water each day, or at least every second day, is a good idea. When changing the water it’s a good idea to re-trim the base of each stem so the flowers can absorb more water more easily and get them back into water as quickly as possible. Once stems are out of water even for only a few seconds, the stems can start to dry up.
- Plain old tap water works perfectly well but you can add ¼ cup of lemonade or soda water. Alternatively, my Mum used to always drop an Aspirin into the water.
- Some bunches of flowers will come with packet flower food, especially if they’ve been purchased from a florist. This can help to nourish the flowers so don’t be tempted to discard it. Add a little to the water each time you change it for the best results. If you don’t have any packet flower food though here is my home-made recipe:
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons of lime or lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon of household bleach
- 4 cups of lukewarm water
Simply mix all ingredients together and pour into a clean vase.
- Believe it or not but a spritz of hairspray can help your flowers look fresher for longer. From a distance of around 30 cm (or the length of a standard ruler) gently and lightly spray the underside of the petals and the leaves. Hold the flowers upside down until the hairspray has set and then return them to the vase.
- Consider also where you’re going to display your flowers once they have been arranged. Both temperature and light can have an impact on how long they last so keeping your flowers in a cool spot away from direct sunlight, breezy doorways or heaters is always a good idea. Also, a little known fact, keep your flowers away from your fruit bowl. Fruit releases ethylene gas to encourage it to ripen but it will cause your flowers to wilt. Remember also that some household appliances like TV’s can give off heat so keeping your floral arrangements away from those can prolong their life as well.
And if you’re buying flowers for someone else, here are a couple of simple tips:
- Make sure the flowers you buy are as fresh as possible, that way they will last longer. Avoid bunches that are looking a little tired or wilted as they typically won’t last as long.
- If you’re picking flowers from your own garden, do so early in the morning when the flowers and stems are full of water and have not begun to dehydrate as the day warms up. Once cut, place the flowers straight into a bucket of warm water.
- Once you’ve purchased your bunch of flowers, avoid leaving them in or near heat as this will only help them wilt and age faster.
So there you have it, some simple ideas to keep your flowers looking fresher for longer. Do you have any other tips or suggestions … please share!