How to keep cut Flowers looking fresh

I’ve said it plenty of times before, but fresh flowers are one of my favourite simple pleasures.  I love buying them, I love arranging them and there are a few spots in my house that just look really bare without a bright bunch of flowers sitting there (I know, first world problems, right?).  They’re just one of those things that never fail to put a smile on my face, especially during the dreary winter months… until they start wilting, that is!  😦

Since I buy a lot of flowers (Sunny’s always complaining that he never gets to buy me any because I’m always getting in there first), I’ve learned a few tips and tricks over the years on how to get them to last a little longer – most of which are dead easy!

Always remove all leaves below the water line

Make sure its only the stems that are submerged; you don’t want leaves slowly mulching in the bottom of the vase and making the water dirty (clean water = happy flowers!).  I always strip the stems completely and leave only a few leaves near the head.

Always trim the stems at a 45°  angle

Never ever just dump your flowers into the water before trimming off the bottom inch of the stems!  After cutting, bacteria makes its way in through the bottom of the stem, so you’re going to want to get rid of it.  Not only that, but cutting at angle creates a larger surface area for water absorption, as well as allowing the stems to sort of tip toe on the bottom of the vase which means better access to water.  And always trim the stems with super sharp scissors (pruning shears are better) to avoid splitting the stem.

Sear the cut stems in warm water

If any of the flowers are looking a bit limp then drop the stems into boiling water for about 30 seconds (a nice trick to bring them back to life!).  It’s also a good idea to trim off your stems under warm running water to prevent air from travelling up the stem.

Always use flower food

Using flower food doesn’t only feed the flowers, but it keeps the water free of bacteria.  Most bouquets come with a little sachet filled with flower food these days – but you can also easily make your own!  A little bit of lemonade will do the trick, but you can also use vinegar, aspirin, lemon juice or even a small bit of bleach.  Or make them a special cocktail of a few drops of vodka and one teaspoon of sugar!

Use Hairspray!

A bit of hairspray’s not only good to keep your ‘do in place, but also helps keep your flowers looking their best.  Stand back and spray a little under the petals and leaves to protect your arrangement.

Keep your flowers away from heat sources (and fruit?)

It should be obvious, but don’t put your vase next to the TV, in direct sunlight or next to a radiator.  Heat will evaporate the water and make the flowers wilt.  Keep them cool, but not cold.  Also – and this is a weird one – don’t put them near your fruit bowl!  As fruit ripens, it releases a particular type of gas that can actually poison cut flowers.

Last but not least, change the water every 2 days

If the water goes cloudy, that means it’s full of bacteria which can clog the stems and decrease the amount of water the flowers can drink.  So, every two days make sure at the very least that you’re changing the water, and – even better – chopping another inch off the bottom of the stems to prevent them clogging.

Have you got any old tips and tricks for keeping flowers fresh?  Have a great week everyone!  🙂

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