A little extra care can go a long way in extending the lifespan of your fresh cut flowers. Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions:
How long will cut flowers last?
The average lifespan of cut flowers is only about a week. Keep in mind that certain varieties last longer than others. With proper care, roses may last up to 7 days whereas carnations can last up to two weeks. Taking care of your cut flowers on a daily basis will help them stay in bloom than if you just ignore them.
How do I extend the life of cut flowers?
When purchasing fresh cut flowers, it is best to select flower heads that are not yet in full bloom. When you reach home, cut the stems diagonally with a sharp knife or shears under running water to ensure that they can immediately take up fresh and clean water. Do not tear or smash the stem as this will interfere with water uptake. Remove all excess foliage which would be below the waterline as decaying foliage in the water will encourage microbial growth.
Place them in a container of warm water immediately after cutting. Cut flower stems that are exposed to the air tend to develop air bubbles that may block the uptake of water. Leave the flowers in the warm water for about 2 hours before arranging them. If possible, add a quantity of commercial flower preservative to the water. This will help extend the lifespan of your flowers.
Always use a clean vase for your cut flower arrangements. A previously used vase needs to be cleaned thoroughly with a household dish detergent or a combination of water and bleach. This is to remove any residual bacteria growing within the vase that could potentially cause the flowers to wilt and die at a faster rate.
Temperature is the key to the lifespan of your cut flowers. Display flower arrangements in a cool area, out of direct sunlight and drafts from a ceiling fan. Do not expose them to heat from electrical appliances or electric lights. Both heat and cold will accelerate dehydration of the flowers. Misting the flowers will also help keep them fresh and prevent dehydration.
Always store flowers away from fruit because ethylene is released as the fruit ripens, thus causing the flowers to wilt quickly.
Re-cutting the stems periodically will ensure that there is a fresh surface from which the stems can take up water. This will allow the flowers to last even longer.
Do you have any flower care tips for flowers I receive?
Unwrap the flowers, re-cut the stems, and place them in a vase filled with clean water with some flower preservative added to it. When the flower food solution becomes cloudy, replace it entirely.
If the flowers you receive are arranged in wet floral foam, make sure to keep the foam saturated with a flower food solution. If none is provided, you can buy some at any florist.
What is flower preservative and why do I need it?
Flower preservative is a complex combination of additives that help to nourish the flowers. It will also discourage harmful bacterial growth. This is the best way to prolong the life of cut flowers. Be sure to follow the mixing instructions on the package as improperly mixed flower food can do more harm than good. Over saturated flower food can kill your fresh flowers quickly.