How to Maximize Your Flowers' Longevity

Have you ever brought a beautiful bouquet of flowers home and popped them into a vase only to have them droop and wilt on you the next day? I've been processing flowers for over 15 yeas, and in that time I've learned exactly what works and what doesn't when it comes to maximizing flower longevity.

1. Start with a clean vessel. I can't stress this enough - if the vessel you're putting your flowers into is dirty, that means there is bacteria present. Ensure the vessel you're using has been thoroughly washed with soap and water to remove any lingering bacteria. Buckets, glass, ceramic, whatever you're displaying your blooms in should be CLEAN.

2. Use floral food. Seriously, it's not a scam. FloraLife packets contain both a sugar (glucose) and an antibacterial agent. This mixture ensures that blooms open fully, colour holds (less fading), and bacteria growth is slowed. Mix this packet with warm water (1 packet to 0.5L of water). Warm water encourages the cell structure in the stems to open, ensuring water goes ALL the way up to the flower heads. *Bulb flowers such a tulips, hyacinth, and daffodils open readily without floral food and can be placed into cool water*

3. Strip leaves/blooms that will be below the waterline. Any greenery of flowers that sit in water encourage bacteria growth. Bacteria in water reduces the lifespan of your flowers by clogging the cut stems.

4. Recut the stems. Once a flower has been cut from the plant, the cut end begins to seal up in order to preserve moisture. Without trimming the stems before placing flowers into water, you reduce the likelihood that the flowers will. hydrate properly, causing the flower heads to droop faster.

5. Certain flowers are temperature sensitive. Hydrangea, lilac, and viburnum, for example, all have woody stems. Using very warm water helps that woody stem to open, once again allowing water to travel all the way up to the flower head. Soft-stemmed flowers like anemone, tulips, hyacinth, and daffodils can tolerate cool water as they hydrate easily.  

6. Keep out of direct sunlight. Placing cut flowers into direct sun will cause the blooms to fade faster. Flowers are finished "growing" once they are harvested, so while sunlight can encourage tight blooms to open, sunlight also speeds up the ripening process of opened blooms, and also increases the growth of bacteria in the water.

7. Change the water every few days. This is a BIG one. Bacteria begins to grow in the water, causing the stems to clog, preventing water uptake. Changing the water in the vase ensures that you reduce the likelihood of your flowers fading too soon. Re-trimming the stems when you change the water also increases the water uptake meaning your blooms stay happier longer!

8. Remove fading blooms/foliage. As flowers age, they begin to break down. Removing any blooms past their prime not only cleans up your bouquet, it ensures that the remaining flowers are not nestled near a browning bloom which can harbour bacteria.

9. If you're unsure, ask your florist or florist-mentor! We include a card with care instructions with all of our bouquets to ensure our clients have the knowledge they need to experience maximum enjoyment of their flowers, and if you are a florist and are struggling with certain blooms, just know I've been there and want to help you find the right education.

There's a lot of old-school knowledge out there that we have debunked over the years:

X - Pennies in a vase with tulips

X - Diluted Vodka/Sprite/7-Up

X - Diluted Hydrogen Peroxide 

X - Diluted Bleach

X - Ice cold water to prevent flowers from opening 

And there you have it - a fool-proof recipe for flower success! Whether you're a hobby florist, own a flower shop, or just wanted to know you're doing things right, I'm happy you took the time to read through our guide.

I'd love to answer any questions you have! Are there certain flowers that you just can't seem to keep from fading too soon? Drop them in the comments below!

 Happy Designing!


 Photography: Jars of Clay Calligraphy 

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