Ding Dong! A fresh bouquet was just delivered to your door. (Or maybe you bought them for yourself. We don’t judge; treat yo’self!) And they’re beautiful. Like, the most beautiful flowers in the history of flowers (if they came from us, especially). Naturally, you want them to stay that lovely for as long as possible. But taking care of fresh-cut flowers is more than just tossing them in a vase, putting them in the center of your room, and posting a photo of them on Instagram.
There are some very important factors that go into keeping your flowers looking like they were newly picked from a garden. Here are our top ten tips for taking care of your fresh floral arrangement:
Re-Cut the Stems
Raise your right hand and say it with me: “I will re-cut my flowers always no matter what. Always.” Perfect. Even if you only live two minutes from the place of purchase, stems always need to be re-cut before going into a vase. Cut the stems with a sharp knife at about a 45 degree angle and 1-2 inches from the bottom. Be sure never use dull scissors to cut your flowers, as anything can crush the vascular system of the stem and prevent water absorption.
Keep them in water
It seems like a no brainer, but this really is the key to keeping your flowers looking good as new. Always keep the stems submerged in water. Flowers like Hydrangeas must always be in water, even if it’s simply keeping them in a wet paper towel while transporting. If you follow that rule, hydrangeas will last 2 or more weeks! If they’re out of water, they may not even last 2 hours. Womp, womp. It’s also important to remember that by the time you notice the flowers are completely out of water, chances are they’ve been that way for a little while. In that case, it’s always best to re-cut the stems before filling the vase again.
Remove leaves below the water line
Be sure to remove any leaves below the water line. If left submerged, the leaves can cause bacteria growth, harm the flowers, and make the water smell. No matter how pretty the arrangement looks, no one is going to care if they see droopy leaves in the water and can’t come within 3 feet of the entire table for the foul odor. Trust us on that one.
Remove flowers that look less than perfect
We get it. Denial is a real thing. It’s easy to want to keep wilting flowers out of fear of the bouquet looking incomplete or *gasp* the end being near. But there’s still hope even if you do have to get rid of a few flowers here and there over the life of the arrangement. A smaller bouquet of lively flowers will look better than one riddled with wilting blooms any day. Keep your flower standards as high as your dating standards and get rid of any that are looking pathetic. This goes for both flowers and men, by the way.
Keep them away from drafts
While you may love your flowers on a specific table, be mindful of where air conditioner vents are located and if there is any draft. Temperature plays a big role in keeping flowers looking fresh, and most flower arrangements will last longer in a cooler environment. But there is a fine line between cool and frigid for our flower friends. If you feel a draft, you better be safe and move them to a less breezy locale.
Similarly, Be Mindful of Placing Them in Direct Sunlight
You may think that more light is better for fresh flowers, but you actually can harm them by putting them in too direct of sunlight. It can cause them to overheat and accelerate them wilting. Sunlight is obviously healthy for any flower, but you can have too much of a good thing. Don’t keep your flower arrangement on a window sill with the sun glaring down if you want to keep it for awhile.
In the Kitchen? Beware of Fruit
This is something not many people think about. Fresh flowers in the kitchen just make sense. But be careful where you put them. Ripening fruit emits something called ethylene gas (Bill Nye told us that), which causes flowers to wilt and buds to remain closed. This gas will ensure that your flowers won’t have a very long life in their vase, and then you’ll be more sad than when you heard Pluto was no longer a planet.
8. Don’t Overcrowd Flowers in the Vase
You know that feeling when you’re at a concert, but it’s hard to enjoy it because there are so many people there? Well, flowers can feel that way in a vase. While we can all agree that more flowers mean a prettier arrangement, overcrowding a vase will mean the flowers are competing for sunlight and water. It’s better to have the appropriate number of flowers for the size of the container rather than sacrifice the longevity of the entire arrangement. Like us, flowers have a lot of feelings, and we should respect their space.
9. Use a Preservative
“I wish there was a magic potion that would keep my flowers alive for longer,” you thought to yourself. You’re in luck, my friend. There are plenty of flower foods you can purchase to keep your arrangement looking fresh for longer. You probably just envisioned one of those packets of flower food. And you’re not wrong. But flower foods also come in sprays, and you can even make your own using the following:
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Sugar
½ Teaspoon Chlorine Bleach
1 Quart Warm Water
10. Keep Your Water Warm
Ideally, a vase of flowers should have water from 100 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Because warm water molecules move faster than cold, this allows for the stems to drink the water more easily and not get a flower brain freeze. It makes sense if you think about it. But beware because some “bulb” flowers like tulips actually require cold water. So while this is almost an absolute rule, be sure to check before you assume the water should always be warm.
Bonus Tip! Purchase flowers that haven’t opened up yet! While they may not be the prettiest in the bunch when you checkout, they’ll open up at home giving you the freshest bouquet of all.
Typically, a healthy arrangement will last about a week. Flowers like tulips have a shorter lifespan of 3-5 days. Regardless, it’s always best to follow these tips to keep your flowers sitting pretty as long as they can, or at least until the next delivery shows up!