Care tips

How to keep your bouquet beautiful

So you’ve rewarded yourself with flowers, or are thinking about doing so? You’ll want your blooming bouquet to last as long as possible. Here are some tips to help you keep your cut flowers fabulous.

1. Squeaky clean vases

Always use a clean vase, as bacteria can get into the flowers and cause them to wilt early. Be sure your vase is spotless by washing with soap and water and rinsing well before use. Choose a glass vase rather than metal, as some metals alter the pH of the water.

2. Food for thought

Most florists will provide a sachet of flower food for your bouquet if the flowers need it. To prepare, add the contents of the sachet into the vase and top up with the prescribed amount of water. This concoction contains an acidic preservative to kill any bacteria that may harm your flowers, and also a sugar to feed the plant. If you run out of plant food, get creative and create your own from scratch! Just mix a spoonful of sugar with a few drops of an acid ingredient such as vinegar, citrus juice or crushed aspirin. Alternatively, lemonade can be used as it contains both sugar and acidic elements. Add to cold, fresh tap water and your flowers will happily lap it up.

3. Trim & Tidy

Remove any lower leaves on the stems of your flowers so that there won’t be any touching or sitting in the water.

4. Cut above the rest

Before placing in a vase, trim 2-5 cm off the stems with a clean, sharp, unserrated knife. Cut at an angle to give the stems as much surface exposure as possible, allowing them to absorb more water and nutrients. Plunge each stem into your prepared water immediately after trimming. Trim stems again when changing the water to further prolong their life.

5. Mastering maintenance

Every two days your flowers will need their stems trimmed, water changed and new food added. Your florist may have supplied you with powder food for topping up, or make your own as mentioned in step 2. Keeping your flowers fed and freshly watered can make them last twice as long!

6. Perfect placement

We all like our creature comforts, and flowers are no different. Keep them away from draughts, ceiling fans, heating/cooling vents and out of direct sunlight. They also shouldn’t be anywhere near ripening fruits (which release a gas that make your flowers age faster) or electronic devices, such as televisions that give off heat.

7. Ruthlessness is essential

Be sure to remove any wilted or dead flowers as leaving them in the vase can shorten the life of the surrounding healthy flowers.

8. A Second Life

If you don’t want to throw your spent flowers away, don’t despair - there are plenty of things you can do with them! If you’re crafty, dried or pressed flowers can be used for plenty of decorative projects. Potpourri is another popular solution - fill a sachet with dried petals and add to a bedroom drawer. If none of these solutions take your fancy, just add them to your compost or green waste!

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