Flowers have the unique ability to brighten a room and your mood, and the fragrances they exude can infuse your home with a freshness that no air freshener or scented candle can duplicate. But all good things come to an end, and flowers, once cut at the stem and placed in water, face a shortened lifespan no matter how well you take care of them.
But how long a bouquet can survive and thrive in a vase is greatly affected by the care it receives. While some flowers may start to wilt after only a couple days, others can last well over a week. There’s no secret involved — it’s all a matter of choosing the right flowers and taking a few simple steps to care for them.
Coordinate by season
Knowing which flowers to put out for the wedding can be dependent on a number of factors, including the season. You wouldn’t want to put sunflowers out in winter wedding or holly in a spring ceremony. As much as the colors need to coordinate, so do the flowers. Everyone considers roses at some point or another, but think about choosing amaryllis, a winter wedding flower that is also available in red and white colors. With a beautiful scent, this flower is sure to spread some cheer during your holiday wedding.
Purchase flowers straight from the farm
By the time you purchase already-cut flowers at a grocery store, they’ve already been bundled and packaged for at least a couple of days. That greatly cuts down the life expectancy — particularly when the attentive care the flowers receive in the meantime is often minimal. By purchasing flowers at a farm or farmer’s market, you often get your choice of flowers that were hand-cut that morning, which means you get to enjoy your arrangement for longer. And surprisingly, the flowers at a farmers market are less expensive than in a grocery or floral store.
Cut stems at an angle
Straight-cut stems limit the amount of water flowers can absorb, ultimately cutting down their lifespan. Cutting the stems at an angle increases the surface area of the exposed stem, making it easier for more water to be consumed. For best results, cut stems at a 45-degree angle before placing them in water.
Set flowers in a clean vase
When you’re reusing a vase, rinsing it out may not be enough. As flowers get older, certain bacteria can develop in the water and cut down on the life expectancy of the plants. If a vase is reused without cleaning it properly, the bacteria have a head start on your new bouquet and can cause them to deteriorate even faster. To eliminate all bacteria from a vase, create a mixture of 10 parts water and one part bleach, then scrub the interior of the vase with the mixture. Rinse it thoroughly to get rid of the bleach, then fill it with water and place your flowers inside.
Remove excess foliage
Pluck or trim off all leaves and other foliage that fall below the waterline in a vase. This extra foliage is the perfect place for bacteria to develop, and it can shorten the lifespan of your flowers.
Feed and water the bouquet
A little maintenance work after the flowers are set in water can go a long way. Every few days, you should swap out the old water for new. While doing that, go ahead and cut a little bit off the end of each stem to give the flowers a fresh surface for absorbing water. For best results, add a little but of flower food into the water to give the flowers some much-needed nutrients that will extend their lifespan.
The exact lifespan of your floral bouquets will depend on a combination of these and other factors. But it’s not unreasonable to think that just these simple steps alone can add several days of extra vibrancy and life to your flowers. That means more impressive displays and less money wasted on short-lived arrangements.
Authored By: Hortensia Martinez
Hortensia loves to decorate for the holidays and will make changes to her home to celebrate any holiday, even Labor Day. She loves sharing tips and hints on how people can spice up their holidays.