How to Keep Flowers Fresh

March 4, 2022

Customers often ask us how to care for their cut flowers and we love that you are enjoying them so much you want to keep them longer!

We take great care to ensure that your flowers reach you in the best possible condition, and selecting high quality flowers that will last is a high priority at Green Door. However, there’s still a few things you can do at home to help them last a few days longer.

These tips work well for any of our cut flower bouquets, for bouquets you receive as a gift, and also for flowers you pick from the garden.

How long should cut flowers last?

This depends not only on how you care for them, but also what type of flowers they are, as some flowers last longer than others. Many flowers will last 5-7 days, but some, like lilies or anthurium, can last up to 10 days when well cared for.

Preparing your vase

The first thing you’ll need to do when you receive your flowers is prepare a vase. Make sure that the vase is completely clean - bacterial growth will shorten the life of your flowers. Don’t dry the vase with a towel as this may introduce bacteria, instead, turn it upside down to drain.

Preparing the water

Tap water is fine for cut flowers, but make it tepid rather than completely cold and it will be absorbed faster by the flowers. For soft stemmed flowers fill the vase half way, for woody stems like roses, you’ll need deeper water.

Let the water settle for a while to allow bubbles to escape as bubbles can get stuck in the stems and prevent the flowers from drinking.

Have your clean vase ready next to you filled with water.

Flower food

Flower food can be really helpful to prolong the life of your flowers, especially for delicate blooms that don’t last long, but don’t use flower food in crystal or metal vases as it could be damaging.

If you don’t have flower food, don’t use lemonade - it can encourage bacterial growth and contains bubbles which can interfere with the flowers’ ability to drink.

You can make your own homemade flower food by using 1 tsp sugar, 3-5 drops of unscented bleach, and 1 tbsp vinegar. Mix with 1 litre of warm water and stir until dissolved.

Preparing the flowers

Unwrap the flowers, and hold them up next to the vase so you can see where to cut the stems and where the waterline lies. Strip off the leaves that will fall beneath the waterline as they will rot and contaminate the water.

Cut at least one inch off the flower stems at an angle - this creates more surface area for the flower to absorb the water. The cut end of the flower stem will seal within a couple of minutes of cutting, so once cut, make sure to put them straight into water.

Some flowers need a lot more water than others, like hydrangeas, so if they look a little droopy, dip the flowers into water before putting them into a vase so that they can drink from the head as well as the stem.

Another tip for floppy hydrangeas is to sear the stems in boiling water for 10-60 seconds before placing them in the vase.

If you are a regular flower buyer, a good pair of floristry scissors is a good investment, so that you can cut stems cleanly so the flowers can drink more. It also prevents bruising of the stems, which can encourage rotting.

Placement of cut flowers

Be careful where you place your flowers, as the environment can also affect them. Direct sunlight and heat dry out flowers, shortening their lifespan, so keep them away from radiators, bright lights, and preferably not in hot rooms.

Also keep flowers away from fruit, especially bananas, as the gases released by fruit can cause flowers to bloom and fade faster than you’d like.

Continued care

Check your flowers daily. If the water is clear, you can top it up with tap water and just remove any plant matter that’s floating in the water using a clean fork or spoon (not fingers, which may introduce bacteria).

Murky green water in your vase is usually due to leaves rotting below the waterline and the bacterial growth will affect your flowers. It’s best to change the water in the vase and trim the stems as above every 2-3 days to prevent murky water.

Remove wilting flower heads fast so that they don’t cause the rest of the flowers to wilt.

Special care for specific flowers

Tulips, hyacinth, and daffodil don’t last as long as other blooms as they are sensitive to heat, you can use cold water or add ice cubes to extend their lifespan. Lilies and ranunculus tend to have a longer lifespan.

Lillies bruise easily, so handle carefully, and cut wilted heads close to the main stem.

Roses - avoid touching the inside petals with your fingers.

Sunflowers - make sure to use a heavy vase to support the weight of the flowers, and watch the water level carefully as they drink a lot.

Enjoy your flowers!

With these tips your flowers will last a little bit longer, so you can enjoy them more! Why not take a look around our shop for your next bouquet?

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