Getting the best out of your flowers

There’s nothing quite like fresh flowers in the home.  In fact, they are probably my favourite ‘accessory’.  It is just unfortunate they don’t last forever.  However, there are a few things you can do that will help maximise the life of your blooms and, with Valentine’s day just around the corner, I thought it was good timing to share my tips – just in case those hints have worked and you are on the receiving end of getting some flowers over the weekend!

My top tips

Make sure you cut your stems 

One of the first things and most important things to do is to cut your stems at an angle. Doing this allows for better water intake as the stems aren’t sitting flat on the bottom of the vase. I also go on to re-trim once every few days, and make sure you use sharp scissors or secateurs so you get a nice, clean cut and avoid crushing the stem.

Keep your water clean – One of the best ways of keeping your water clean is to remove any foliage that will sit below the water line. I think it not only makes your bouquet look better, but it also prevents bacterial growth. 

Water, water and water – Obvious I know but your flowers won’t last long without water. Make sure you fill your vase with room temperature water and if you have some, add flower food. Make sure the vase you put your flowers in is clean, it should be clean enough for you to happily drink out of it. Finally, don’t forget to replace your water regularly, to prevent bacteria build up. I try and do mine daily but every couple of days is fine.

Where you put your flowers also determines how long they last. Ideally, you are looking for a room with a cool temperature, not in direct sunlight, nor in a draft of next to fruit as ripening fruits release tiny amounts of ethylene gas which can reduce the longevity of your fresh arrangement. 

Feeding your flowers 

  • If you’ve got any lemonade in the house, then you can add some into the water as the sugar in it acts as a feed. It also helps keep the water clear.
  • Vodka, yes you heard me correctly!  Vodka can help in minimising the growth of bacteria. Add a few drops of it (or any clear spirit) to the vase water for antibacterial action along with 1 teaspoon sugar. Change the water every other day, refreshing the vodka and sugar each time. Adding a tiny amount of bleach to the water also helps prevent the water from getting cloudy and inhibits the growth of bacteria. 
  • Another trick is to add a copper penny and a cube of sugar to the vase water. The copper in pennies is thought to act like an acidifier, which prevents the growth of bacteria. It also helps keep tulips perky!
  •  If you are using zinc buckets or vases, then don’t pop anything into the water as there will be a reaction with the metal that harms the flowers. 

And finally

With daffodils now being readily available to buy, make sure you drain their sap away by conditioning them separately before mixing with other plants as some can be adversely affected by their sap. To do this, I just cut their stems at an angle and then leave on their own in a bucket of water overnight before arranging them.

With love and stay safe, Flowers and Lifestyle by Margot –

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