Have you received flowers then been disappointed about how long they have lasted? Over the years we at Phillips Florist have found that the following tips can help you enjoy your cut flowers for as long as possible.
Good care practices.
1) Only use a clean vase, as it is bacteria which kills off the flowers.
2) Using either sharp scissors or a sharp knife remove a minimum of about 1 inch or 2-3 cms off the bottom of each stem, cutting in a diagonal way (This prevents the stem from sealing itself on the bottom of the vase). This will depend on the length of stem and size of vase you are using of course.
3) Fresh flowers may come with a sachet of flower preservative. If not then reputable florists have this for sale. Mix this up in approximately 1 litre of fresh lukewarm water, making sure that all the powder disolves. Any unused solution can be kept in a sealed container to top up the vase over the following week. The use of lukewarm water is because it contains less oxygen which blocks the flower stems from absorbing water. It also encourages some flowers to open up.
4) Remove any foliage that falls below the water line (leaves in water promotes bacterial growth).
5) Keep flowers in a cool and well ventilated atmosphere, away from direct sunlight, draughts or heat sources such as radiators or TV's.
6) Check the water level daily and top up as required. Using any water that has the flower preservative mixed in it first.
7) Remove fading flowers as they occur, this will also encourage any buds to open as well as stop bacteria.
8) When you only have a few flowers remaining tranfer them to a smaller vase, cutting the stems if required. The best length to keep the stems straight is where the height of the vase is between half and two thirds the length of the cut stem.
9) If given an arrangement in green (Oasis) foam, make sure that the water-retaining foam is wet, you gently pour clean water into the centre and back of the arrangement and the water level is checked daily. These arrangements will not last as long as flowers kept in water though.
Bad Care Practices.
1) Cut the flowers with blunt scissors, pierce or smash the stems. This destroys the water vessels and thus inhibits the water uptake as well as giving the bacteria more surface area to multiple on and shorten the flowers life.
2) Placing the vase in direct sunlight. This encourages bacteria to grow.
3) Place the vase near fresh fruit. Ripening fruit gives off tiny amounts of the gas ethylene which prematurely ages most flowers.
4) Using a metal Vase or putting copper pennies, bleach, lemonade or aspirin in with the flowers will do more harm than good.
5) Do not mix Daffodils and Narcissi with any other flowers unless you have taken precautions. For they produce latex from their stems which is more commonly known as 'Daffodil slime' which shortens the life of other flowers. The precautions are either to use special bulb cut flower food or to place the daffodils for 12 hours in cold water after you have cut them before adding them to the vase. They will have had time to release all the latex from the bottom of the stem.
Many of these hints and tips are recommended by the Flowers & Plant Association based on the latest extensive scientific research they have done.
Care of Bouquets
Take care when removing any packaging, especially cellophane. This often contains water, which the florist has added to keep the flowers fresh (in whch case, you should pierce the packaging and drain the water into a sink).
If the flowers are tied, be careful not to cut the tie. They have been especially arranged and are ready to go straight in a vase - untying them may spoil the arrangement.
Cut the stems of the flowers - use a sharp knife if possible (scissors may crush the stem) and cut the stems at an angle, about 3/4" above the end.
Next, place the flowers in deep water for an hour prior to arranging them in a vase of clean water (with flower food, if available). This will ensure that the flowers last as long as possible.
Care of Roses
If a Rose head starts to "flop", wrap the stem in paper to help straighten it, re-cut the stem and plunge into 2" of boiling water for a minute. Then place in deep, cold water,. This should help revive it.
Care of Lilies
The pollen from Lily stamens can cause serious stains in clothing and damage wooden surfaces. You should remove any stamen carefully.
Care of Baskets and Containers
Where the flowers are arranged in foam, you should top up the container daily with sufficient water to keep the foam moist.
Candles and Decoration
Some arrangements may contain candles, fresh fruit or other decorative items. These are intended purely for display - fruit should not be eaten (in case it contains potentally harmful fixatives) and candles should not be lit (in case they fall over, or are placed near flammable material).
Care of Plants
Most plants enjoy the light - but not direct sunlight. They also enjoy a consistent temperature - keep them away from draughts, cold and direct heat.
Tropical and Foliage plants flourish in a warm location - and will need to be fed every two weeks during Spring / Summer. Keep the soil moist, but avoid over-watering (especially in winter, when there is little growth).
Flowering plants need to be watered more regularly. During flowering you should water daily to keep the soil moist - and feed every fortnight.
Planted bowls should be kept at a constant temperature with good light. Keep them moist (without becoming water-logged) and feed once a fortnight in Spring / Summer.