A bouquet of fresh flowers is appropriate for any occasion, but seeing them wilt before their time will dampen your excitement. It takes more than plopping blooms into a vase to properly care for a flower arrangement. Knowing what to do will extend their life by a week or more.
Here are six simple instructions for receiving and arranging a flower bouquet so that it lasts as long as possible.
Clean the vase
Placing fresh flowers in an unclean vase puts them at risk of wilting, as the vase is likely to contain bacteria from previous bouquets. Before using the vase, clean it with soapy water and then rinse it with diluted bleach to get it fit for the next time.
Cut off the stems
Within hours of being cut, most cut flowers will begin to “seal up” the base of their stem. Since this prevents them from absorbing water, each stem must be recut before being placed in a vase. The optimal cut is a 2-centimeter diagonal cut, which maximizes the surface area of the stem for absorbing moisture. To avoid crushing the stem, use a sharp knife instead of scissors.
Consider if you want to reduce the height of the blooms. A shorter stem means less distance for water to fly, potentially extending the life of the flowers.
Center the composition around the largest flowers
While everybody has their own preferences, the most aesthetically pleasing way to arrange flowers is to place the largest blooms in the middle, surrounded by smaller flowers and those that haven't bloomed yet. When you like the arrangement, group the stems together in the vase with a loose rubber strip.
Add water and flower food
Water that has been filtered and is fresh is important for long-lasting blooms. The quantity depends on the form of your flower. Two-thirds full vessels, whether they contain woody varieties such as hydrangea or roses, and only half filled, fluffy, green-growing flowers, such as tulips and lily.
Cool water is favored, as warm water flows through the stalks and speeds up the process of blooming. A flower food box, which is usually included with the bouquet, may also be added. The majority of food packets contain a sugar solution that feeds the flowers and keeps the water fresh by limiting bacteria in the water.
Place in a protected space
In a cool airy place away from direct sunlight, fresh flowers last best. Check for drafty windows and doors, keep your arrangement from berries, as the fruit-releasing ethylene gas can speed up the decline of the flowers.
Keep water and remove wilting flowers
Keep an eye on the water level in the vase on a regular basis and replenish it as required. When the water becomes cloudy, absolutely drain it and clean out the vase (see step No. 1). This is also an excellent time to remove any wilting flowers, rearrange the remaining blooms, and recut the stems for better water absorption.
If you follow these six steps, you will be able to significantly prolong the life of any flower bouquet. You'll be surprised by how much more pleasure you get from each bloom when you're not worried about how long they'll last.