How to Care for Your Fresh Cut Flowers

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

—Robert Frost

The now famous line, “Nothing gold can stay.” may sound very familiar.

For many, your English teacher probably reviewed it while you read or watched The Outsiders in middle school. Essentially, it means all good things must come to an end.

But! What if you could make one good thing in particular (fresh flowers) last longer?

Great news. You can!

So, you just received (or purchased for yourself, we don’t judge) a beautiful floral arrangement—it could be a bouquet of roses, a vase of lilies, or a mixed variety of flowers—and you say to yourself, “These are so amazing, I wish there was a way to keep flowers alive longer!”

Whether you want to know how to care for gerbera daisies, proteas, hydrangeas, calla lilies, daffodils, or dahlias, the tips below will make sure you get the longest life out of your flowers.

THE CARE OF CUT FLOWERS GUIDE

Cut flowers and how to care for them

Tip 1: Only Buy Healthy Flowers

And really, this is more of a pre-tip. If your flowers don’t look great to begin with, the following steps aren’t going to resurrect them or make them last longer.

We’re here to help, but we can’t perform miracles!

Look at the foliage and stems, make sure they aren’t dry and withered, or mushy and slimy.

Also, while it’s tempting to buy the flowers with the biggest blooms, they are already past the midway point of their lives (sad, we know). Instead, try to pick flowers that are on “the break”—neither too opened, or too closed.

Tip 2: Wash. Fill. Feed.

Creating a healthy environment starts with three simple things; a clean vase, room temperature water, and plant food.

First, wash your vase and be sure to completely rinse out any soap.

Fill your vase ¾ of the way up with room temperature water. Add in a packet of flower food and mix it in until it’s completely dissolved.

Starting off with the right conditions is the first key step in prolonging your bouquet’s life!

Tip 3: Don’t Forget to Trim the Stems

Often, when you buy or receive flowers, you instantly want to put them on display. It’s exciting to get flowers and seeing them on display brightens a room.

However, if your flowers can’t absorb water properly, they’ll die faster.

Using a sharp knife, cut your stems at an angle (here’s how to do it properly) while underwater. The angled cut increases the surface area that they can absorb water and food from.

Then, immediately put them in your vase with water. Stem ends seal up within a few seconds, so make sure your vase is ready and filled with water.

Repeat this tip every few days to make sure they continue to stay healthy!

Tip 4: Avoid Drafts

Just like no one enjoys cold air seeping through their windows in the winter, flowers also prefer environments that don’t fluctuate. The center of rooms are ideal because the temperature tends to remain the most unchanged.

Also, try to avoid putting them in rooms that get too warm—the added heat will cause your flowers to wilt.

Tip 5: Avoid Direct Sunlight

“Wait, what? I thought plants needed sunshine to survive?”

Well, they do but only indirect. After your beautiful flowers are cut, direct sunlight promotes bacterial growth, and quickly evaporates water, leading to dehydration.

Tip 6: Store in the Fridge

When you walk into a florist, where do you see most of the cut flowers kept?

If you answered, “A refrigerator,” you answered correctly!

Cut flowers prefer cooler temperatures (not ice cold) so popping your arrangement into your fridge overnight is said to help flowers keep their healthy appeal even after 10 days!

Tip 7: Flower Food Alternatives

Can’t find that flower food packet? No worries!

Try using one of the following as a replacement, and for more detailed information on each option read here.

  • Soda—1/4 cup of Sprite or another clear soda
  • Aspirin—1 crushed aspirin
  • Coins—Add a penny to fight bacteria with a crushed aspirin
  • Bleach—Add ¼ teaspoon and ¼ teaspoon sugar to fight bacteria
  • Vodka—A few drops will help your flowers bloom
  • Apple cider vinegar—2 tablespoons every 3-5 days

Note: Just use one of the above options, not all of them at once!

Get the most out of your beautiful bouquet by following the 7 tips above. With a little bit of care, you can keep your flowers fresh for weeks!

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