By following these simple steps, you can significantly increase the vase life of your cut flowers.
First, we need to establish why cut flowers need care. When flowers are cut from the earth, they lose their natural water filter: their roots. A flower’s roots act as a filtering system preventing bacteria from entering the stem. The roots also provide a source of clean and PH balanced water as well as feeding the plant the correct minerals. With no filtering system, a flower is free to draw up impure water, air and bacteria. This blocks the stem, which interferes with water uptake.
So here are 6 steps to keep our flowers fresher, longer.
1.Clean your vase thoroughly
It’s not every day you receive beautiful fresh flowers, so it’s likely your vase may have been sitting patiently at the back of your cupboard collecting dust. Carefully wash your vase with hot water & a small cap of bleach together with a sponge. Allow the vase to dry naturally upside down. NEVER DRY WITH A TOWEL.
2. Condition Your Water
Tap water is suitable for fresh flowers but it does need to be conditioned to be ideal for thriving blooms. First, you need to fill your vase about halfway up. Once you’ve done that, let the water settle for a couple of minutes to allow some of the larger air bubbles to escape and for the water to get close to room temperature. Flowers take warmer water in more efficiently than cold so, putting fresh flowers in warmer water for their first drink goes a long way.
3. Only Use Flower Food
When your water has settled, add a whole flower food sachet and make sure it’s fully dissolved with a quick stir. If you do not have any flower food you will need to replace your vase water every 24 hours. Flower food has 3 parts: bleach (bactericide), sugar and a citric acid (acidifier).The three ingredients contained in flower food create the perfect environment for cut flowers. Bleach eliminates harmful bacteria. Sugar provides flowers with the energy to allow them to blossom. Citric acid balances the PH of tap water dissolves air bubbles and improves the effectiveness of the bleach.
4. Prepare Your Stems
First place the stems next to your vase to measure the right height for them to be cut. Next, remove any foliage that will fall below the waterline of your vase. If any foliage is left below the waterline, it will firstly introduce bacteria back into your clean water and will also decompose quickly being submerged.
Cut the stems at an angle with the sharpest scissors, shears or knife you can find. Cutting the stems with a sharp implement makes sure the cut is clean and the stem isn’t crushed, this aids water uptake. Cutting at an angle creates a larger opening at the base of the stem for more water uptake and stops them sitting flat in the vase.
Once your flowers have been cut, place them immediately into your vase of water. As water evaporates from leaves and the head it creates natural pressure which sucks up water. When the stems have been cut, get them back into your vase sooner rather than later as the stem will suck up surrounding air and dust which will clog the stems.
5. Place in a Suitable Location
Keep your flowers in a cool location away from sources of heat such as household appliances or radiators, direct sunlight such as windowsills and drafts from windows or doors. Also: Keep your flowers away from any fruit or vegetables. When cut flowers are subject to heat it causes them to release more water (transpire) than they can draw up the stem causing wilting to occur. That’s why wilting flowers are very moist at the head of the stem. Fruit releases ethylene gas as it ripens which poisons cut flowers causing wilting and browning.
6. Check Regularly
Check the quality of your vase water, if it is slightly cloudy, remove the flowers, change it to fresh water and repeat step 2. No matter how meticulous you have been with your vase, flower food and cutting, bacteria will still form and attach to the end of your flower stems and discolour your water. This is the most frequent cause for a short vase life so keeping on top of this is key to long life flowers. If the water is clear, top it up with tap water and remove any floating foliage with a clean spoon or fork, not your fingers. You should then repeat step 4 and cut the stems removing at least an inch from the bottom, this allows an otherwise clogged stem to reopen and take up much more water.
Hopefully, this guide helps you keep your flowers fresh and if you haven’t already started a flower subscription with Bouquet Box you can do so here.