Flowers – they’re incredibly beautiful, put out amazing fragrances, and liven up any room with bold, bright color. The problem with cut flowers, though, is that they eventually die and need to be tossed. While we can draw an object lesson on appreciating the moment from this, there are ways to make fresh flowers last longer. How do you do that?
Pay Attention to the Stem Cut
When cutting fresh flowers, hold the stems under water (either standing or running), and cut the stems at an angle. This creates an angled opening that allows the flower to take in more water and helps ensure proper hydration.
Look at the stems of your flowers and identify any low leaves. These should be removed from the stem before putting the flowers in water. You’ll want to remove any leaves that might actually end up under water, as they create a risk for mold and algae growth. However, you will also want to trim any other leaves growing low on the stem, as this ensures more water is delivered to the flower itself.
Add a bit of sugar to the water in your vase or bowl. Two tablespoons of common table sugar is the norm, but you might need to add more or less depending on the size of the flower arrangement in question. Sugar will help encourage closed blooms to open, and will provide important nutrients to the flowers. Don’t have sugar handy? Try a quarter-cup of clear soda for the same effect.
You should have received a packet of flower food with your flower arrangement – mix this into the water in the vase according to the directions. This will provide nutritional support for the flowers and help them last longer. If you did not receive any flower food, it can be purchased from your local florist, and sometimes from big-box stores, as well.
Often, flower death is due as much to invading pathogens as it is to being cut in the first place. You can help extend the life of your flowers by adding two tablespoons of white vinegar to the water in the vase (and doing so every time you change the water, as well). Vinegar is antibacterial and antifungal, and will prevent the growth of mold and algae in your water.
Consider the Light Level
All plants need light to live, but cut flowers should not be put in direct sunlight, as a general rule. Position them close to a source of natural light, but not in an area where direct sunlight will fall on the flowers, or on the vase, particularly if you’re using a clear vase. Sunlight can be too harsh for your flowers, and can cause wilting. It can also encourage the growth of mold in your water.
There you have them – some of the simplest yet most effective tips to help make fresh flowers last longer. With the right care, your flowers can provide beauty and joy for a long time.