How to keep cut flowers?

Receiving a beautiful bouquet of flowers is one of the most pleasant things, but once cut, flowers can be very perishable and it can be very disappointing to see them wither fast. Fortunately, you do not need to have a green hand to keep flowers the longest. Knowing some simple but effective maintenance rules can make them last in a vase up to twice as long.

 

(Note that if you are cutting the flowers yourself, the moment for doing so is of great importance. It is not advisable to cut the flowers in hot weather. For example, in hot summer days, the morning hours are more preferred as they are stronger and more hydrated.)

 

Stem maintenance

It is essential to maintain the stems before putting your cut flowers in a vase. The first step is to cut the lower leaves so they don’t mold at the bottom of the vase. The next step is to cut the stem about two to three centimeters at an angle -even if the florist has already done it- so the stem can absorb the water more easily. Preferably use a sharp knife so you can make a cleaner cut (scissors may crush the stem and reduce the flower’s vase-life). You can repeat this operation every two days to keep your bouquet fresh for a longer time.

 

Watering

You need to keep your cut flowers hydrated and watered. There are some exceptions of course, (like tulips that require little water) but most varieties need a vase at least half way up their stems. It is best to change the water every day or every two days to make sure they don’t rot. It is better to use water at room temperature for the good preservation of your flowers.

 

Choosing the right vase

First, choose a vase proportional to your bouquet for your flowers to bloom as long as possible (the vase’s height must be at least half the height of the stems). Make sure that the vase is perfectly clean, as a dirty vase will increase the number of bacteria and harm your bouquet (if in doubt, you can wash it with a little bit of bleach to make sure you have gotten rid of any kind of germs).

 

Location, light and temperature

Pay attention to the location you choose for your vase. You must avoid excessive sunlight or too high a temperature in order to maintain your cut flowers as long as possible. Exposure to harsh sunlight can degrade the color of the petals.

Do not put your vase near sources of heat such as radiators or computers.

You would also want to avoid placing your vase near cut fruits as the ethylene gas they emit as they ripen can be harmful to many cut flowers.

 

Using preservatives

Finally, another thing that can help you keep cut flowers in the best condition and for as long as possible is to make sure to use the nourishing solution that your florist sometimes gives you. It is a precious asset that contains all the nutrients needed for the longevity of your flowers. You can also use some other simple preservatives like sugar (it works but the dosage may be tricky from bouquet to bouquet), vinegar (as it blocks the growth of bacteria, combine 2tsp white vinegar and 1 tsp sugar) or baking soda (a pinch). Add one of these to the vase before filling it with water and your plants will draw the necessary nutrients from it.

These tips would work equally well for bouquets of roses, lavender, ranunculus, sunflowers, and many other varieties.