For any type of celebration, a gift of cut flowers is a beautiful gesture. If you’ve ever received flowers as a gift for any special occasion, you probably wished you could make them last longer than just a few days. Luckily, there are several tips and tricks to extend the life of flowers in a vase.
Before you put your flowers in the vase, be sure to trim each stem. Use a clean, sharp knife or pruners, and cut the stems on an angle. Take care not to crush the stem ends when trimming them. Cutting on an angle allows the stems to absorb the most amount of water in an efficient way.
After several days, check the flower stems to be sure they have not gotten soggy. If they are soft or slimy, re-cut the stems, removing an additional inch or so from each one. This will help them get sufficient water for a longer period of time.
Clean water is a key factor in extending the life of your blooms. Water should be changed every other day to reduce bacterial growth. Because your flowers are no longer receiving nutrients from their parent plant, they rely on clean water to help keep them fresh and vibrant. If the water looks murky or develops an odor, throw it out and clean the vase before putting the flowers back in.
There are several additives that can go in the vase to help prolong the life of your floral arrangement. There are a number of easy to find, low-cost options, including floral food, aspirin, or bleach.
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Floral food often comes in little packets along with bouquets. Be sure to read the package before adding it to the water. You may only need to use part of the packet’s contents.
Aspirin has been used for decades to help preserve cut flowers. Be sure to use true aspirin – acetaminophen won’t work here! An uncoated low-dose aspirin can be crushed and added to the flowers’ water if you don’t have any floral food. The aspirin is thought to make the water’s pH more suitable for the flowers.
In a pinch, bleach can help keep the water in a vase clean and bacteria-free. Use caution, though, as too much bleach will quickly kill your flowers. A few drops (no more than 1/4 teaspoon) should be sufficient to keep the water fresh.
To prevent your flowers from wilting too soon, be sure to keep them in a cool location. Hot air can make your flowers droop rapidly. Avoid placing flowers in areas with prolonged exposure to direct sunlight, furnace ducts, space heaters, and fireplaces.
If you have a cool location to store your flowers overnight, this can help the blooms to last longer. You can even keep them in the fridge overnight if you’re concerned about them fading too quickly.
Remember, now that the flowers are removed from their plants, they’re more fragile. But with a little care and love, you can prolong the life of your beautiful blooms and enjoy your gift of flowers for several days longer.