Creating beautiful, lush flower-shop fancy floral arrangements at home can be a simple way to add elegance to your indoor or outdoor decor. The problem arises when, like me, you are biologically unable to keep your plants alive for more than oh, three business days. Whether you’re on a budget living in a small space or looking for ways to add pop to your outdoor space, you can do it without sacrificing your entire paycheck.
Whether you receive a beautiful arrangement or create a DIY bouquet to brighten your dinner table, Dora Calle, florist on BloomNation and manager at Marguerite Gardens in Chicago, IL suggests sticking to the basics.
Water, Water Everywhere
One of the most important things you can do to keep your flowers in bloom is to change the water regularly. One of the things that causes cut flowers to wilt quickly is bacteria in the water. The most basic thing you can do to preserve cut flowers is to change the water often. Use lukewarm water, never too hot or too cold.
If you’ve heard that bleach can help you keep your plants alive, think twice. — it can actually have the opposite effect. “Bleach is a myth,” said Calle. “It is meant to kill bacteria but it also kills the flower. Instead, add sugar to the water, about 1 teaspoon per quart of water.” Some say this “sugar rush” mimics the process that occurs in photosynthesis and helps keep flowers healthy. “Change the water in your vase at least once every other day,” Calle adds. This helps keep bacteria from growing and destroying the flowers.
All Flowers Are Not Created Equal
“Roses last longer in a cool area,” said Calle. “If you want their blooms to open quickly, temporarily place them in a warmer spot, but not hotter than 80 degrees Fahrenheit).” When you arrange roses, be sure to remove any discolored petals on the flower’s outer edge (called guard petals) and foliage that fall below the waterline when refreshing your arrangement. If your roses begin to wilt, you may be able to revive them by trimming an inch off the bottom of the stem and then submerging the entire rose under water or in the sink or bathtub. “Recutting the stems often will give your roses the longest vase life,” added Calle.
When caring for hydrangeas, it is best to do one of two steps. “Place hydrangeas’ heads in cold water for about two hours before putting them in a vase, this will help the flower last longer,” said Calle. “Hydrangeas get their water from the flower petals. The other step you can do to keep the hydrangea flower head is to spray with water every other day. Using a water spritzer, spray the flower head once a day every other day. This will help keep the flower looking fresh longer.”
When you have tulips, keep them in ice cold water for extended life, while it’s important to to pay extra attention to roses if you want them to live longer.
Stem and Branch Care
Trim at least a half inch of stem off your flowers before you put them in a vase and each time you change the water. Anytime flower stems sit out of water, the ends of the stem die out and its cells start to die. By cutting off the stems, you allow them to absorb more water. Calle suggests trimming stems on an angle because it gives the flower a larger surface from which to absorb water. “Make sure that the part of the stem that is underwater has no leaves,” said Calle. “Bacteria grows if the foliage underwater and then bacteria is absorbed into the flower which causes the stem to die quicker.”