Before you know it, the local fresh cut flower season will be here in New England. You will be enjoying colorful, seasonal, local fresh cut flower bouquets from farmers’ markets, farm stands, and your local growers and designers this summer. Wouldn’t you like them to stay cheerful and bright for a full week or more? I wanted to share some easy tips with you about caring for your flowers and keeping them fresh for the longest possible time. At farmers’ market, often I’ll have visitors stop in and take the time to mention that they have tried these tips and been surprisingly happy at how long their flowers have lasted in their home.
Think of flower stems as tubes that bring water up to the bloom. You want to keep the tubes clean of any bacteria that may grow in the vase in order to have the longest lasting flowers.
Following are a few tips to keep your flowers looking fresh and beautiful:
- Clean Vase: Start with a clean vase and make a habit of keeping your flower vases as clean as the dishes you eat from.
- Change the water often: Keep the water in your flower vases as fresh as water you would like to drink. This will keep bacteria from building up in the vase and clogging the flower stem tubes. Change or top off water daily.
- Remove foliage below the water line: Any leaves will quickly gum up the water and block the tubes of your stem. Strip as many leaves as you can that might get wet.
- Keep flowers away from appliances and heat sources: The cooler the flowers are kept the longer they will last. Appliances and direct sun emit heat that encourage the flowers to mature quickly. Keep your flowers cool.
- Re-cut stems on an angle every few days: When you change the water re-cut the stems to give a fresh entryway for water to work up the flower stems.
- Use a commercial flower food packet in the water or try one of these DIY flower foods: Keeping the water clean is the number one trick to keeping your flowers fresh. Additionally, adding flower food especially to the first vase of water also encourages your bouquet to last a long time.
aspirin tablet, 1 quart warm water for an average size vase. Increase proportionally for larger.
Cut Flower Preservative Recipe #2: 2 Tbsp. white vinegar, 2 Tbsp. sugar, 1/2 tsp. bleach or 1
crushed aspirin, 1 quart of warm water for an average size vase.
Develop an eye for quality and freshness in the flowers you choose at market as well. Flowers, stems, and foliage should be firm and crisp with good color. Avoid pale and wilted flowers as it is difficult to condition them. If you are faced with flowers that have slightly wilted, re-cut their stems on an angle, give them clean fresh water, and place them in the coolest place you can find out of direct sun and heat. This may bring them back to life for you to enjoy.