Whether it’s flowers from the garden, a wrap or two you picked up from the supermarket when doing your food shop, or whether you’ve been bought a gorgeous hand-tied bouquet, you will want to make sure you know how to make your flowers last longer. So because we’re nice like that, we’re sharing a few tips with you below.
Vase / Container
Make sure the container you will be using is clean, inside and out. Using bleach is great as it will ensure any bacteria from the previous time it held water is killed. Bacteria create slimy stem ends that make the vase water smell bad.It also blocks stems and prevents them from taking up water. This will considerably shorten the life of your cut flowers.
As well as having a clean vase, using an unusal vase can truly bring out the best of your flowers. I especially love vases bought from Mon Pote in Bedminster which I often use for my Instagram photos as well as around the house. I have a few black geometric ones and even a gold one, and they truly finish off the arrangement beautifully! Don’t be afraid to go for something a little different, and for different shapes and sizes.
Unwrapping your flowers
If you’ve picked up the flowers from the shop, such as a wrap of roses or carnations, take off all the wrapping and the string that hold them together.
If you’ve been bought a hand tied bouquet, again take off all the wrapping, including the cellophane for the aquapack (when it holds water in). However, make sure to not remove the string holding the arrangement together. There may be string holding the cellophane and the paper, which will need to come off, but once all the wrapping is off, the string left is holding the arrangement together. This is why the arrangement is called a hand-tied bouquet 🙂
This means that the arrangement was carefully created in a way to make the most of each flower, with different heights and texture. I remember creating a hand-tied bouquet for a friend, and watched her cut the string and just plop the flowers into a vase, making the arrangement all but disappear! Of course, if some flowers go before others, you may want to cut the string, pick out the wilted ones or even redistribute the flowers throughout different containers. But to make the most of the arrangement at its best, keep the string to start with.
Once you’ve picked your flowers, the next step is to condition them. This mainly means stripping all the unwanted leaves from each stem. The rule of thumb is that there shouldn’t be anything but the stem in the water. If you leave the leaves below the water level, these will go mouldy and create bacteria. With thorns, if possible, it is best to leave them on as removing them will create an open wound of sort on the stem, again encouraging bacteria to damage the flower. Florists will remove these for hand held bouquets, but in your vase arrangement at home, they can be left on.
A good pair of florist/gardening scissors will also help you cut the stems easily and cleanly. Ideally, cut at an angle, to allow a larger surface from the stem to drink from.
If you’ve picked the flowers from your garden, it is advised to then let them rest after conditioning by placing them in a clean bucket of water, in a cool dark place, for a few hours at least.
If you have been gifted a hand tied bouquet, this will have already been conditioned. You may just want to cut the stems to ensure they remain able to drink up as much water as they need.
Once your vase has been cleaned, and your flowers conditioned, fill your case with clean, tepid water and add the plant food provided with the flowers. Plant food is mainly to ward off bacteria. You can also have a go at making your own, a great number of recipes pop up when you search “Make your own plant food”.
If some of the flowers you have smell rather strongly, you can also add a drop of bleach to help diminish the scent.
From then on, the key is to make sure the water remains clean. Ideally, change the water every 2-3 days, but if you see the water turning a little green, then change it asap. Re-cutting the stems can also help prolong the life of your flowers.
If some of the flowers are a little floppy, you could try searing them, which essentially means plunging the end of the stem in some boiling water between 10 seconds to a minute. You only need to do this to the very ends, no more than 5cm of the stem. Make sure you don’t leave them in too long (soft stems will only need about 10 seconds, whereas strong, woody stems will need up to a minute). If you leave them too long it will damage the stems. You will also need to make sure you protect the flower heads from the steam, especially on the shorter stemmed flowers. You can do this by wrapping the heads in paper for example.
Where to keep them
Cut flowers don’t like direct sunlight or heat, so keep them away from windows, radiators, etc. Or put the blinds down if the sun is shining directly on them.
So there you go. Have you got any additional tips you’ve tried that work to prolong the life of your flowers? Or perhaps you’ve found a good recipe for plant food? I’d love to hear from you so let us know in the comments below!
If you’re looking for a wedding florist for 2018, we have a number of availabilities for January to June 2018, so get in touch with us here.