5 Flower Care Tips
- Cut the stems: Before you put those roses in water, trim 1-2 inches off the end of each steam. Garden shears are best for this task, but kitchen scissors or a sharp, clean knife will also do. Cut at an angle to help the stems take in water more easily since they aren’t resting flat against the bottom of the vase. Experts suggest retrimming your blooms every few days for a fresh and clean stem.
- Prune extra leaves: It’s important to remove any leaves that fall below the water line to prevent bacterial growth. Check your flowers daily to remove dead leaves and petals. This is especially important in mixed bouquets which have multiple types of flowers that may have different blooming times.
- Pick the right vase: This may seem obvious to some people, but it really does make a difference. Just because the florist hands you a bunch of flowers on long stems doesn’t mean they should be put in a tall vase. Bigger, heavier blooms should be cut short and put in a low vase where they can support each other when they open or have room to spread out, while lighter, more delicate flowers can be kept in a taller vase. Make sure you are not crowding the vase either; when in doubt you can always make two bouquets out of one.
- Change the water every few days: Start with a clean vase and fill it with room temperature water. When you add ingredients like flower food to the water, make sure they are completely mixed and dissolved before you place the flowers. Change the water, clean the vase, and re-trim the stems every few days.
- Avoid heat, direct sunlight, windows, and even fruit: Flowers will last longer in a cooler room and if you keep them out of direct sunlight. Avoid placing them near appliances that generate high or low temperatures like the stove, air conditioner, ceiling fans, and even your computer or TV. Open windows will also cause them to dehydrate more quickly, and keep them away from fresh fruit which releases tiny amounts of gas that can cut the lifespan of your blossoms.
Home Made Preservative and Care
Using a preservative definitely increases the longevity of cut flowers. To survive, flowers need three ingredients: carbohydrates, biocides, and acidifiers. Carbohydrates are necessary for cell metabolism; biocides combat bacteria and are necessary for maintaining plant health; acidifiers adjust the pH of water to facilitate and increase water uptake.
Homemade Flower Preservative
Home mixes can be as effective as commercial preservatives. This easy-to-make recipe is my favourite.
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon household bleach
- 2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice
- 1-quart lukewarm water
Under normal circumstances, flowers get what they need from the plant. When severed from the plant, however, flowers are deprived of these essential substances. But they are present in ready-made commercial preservatives, like Floral Life. Such solutions contain sugar for nutrition, bleach to keep the water clear of bacteria, and citric acid to gently acidify the water. When using commercial brands, be sure to follow recommended measurements for different container sizes.
One common suggestion is to place an aspirin in the water to keep flowers fresh. It is likely that aspirin’s effectiveness is simply the result of the drug’s carbohydrate content.