Caring for Cut Flowers in 3 Easy Steps
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Flowers are a beautiful addition to any home, room or space. Sadly, like any living thing, they don’t last forever. Not to worry, through – while there’s no magic cure to extend the flower’s beauty, there are a couple of things you can do to extend the life of the flowers – so at least they can retain their freshness for longer. Keep reading to learn three important steps when it comes to flower care.
It’s not as easy as just grab a pair of scissors and cut the flowers however – there’s a method to cut them properly. In order for the flowers to have a larger area from which they can get water from, the stem must be cut in an angle. They also need to be cut with clippers or a knife rather than scissors – as the latter can sometimes crush the stem and therefore, their vascular system. In addition, make sure you cut the stems under lukewarm running water, so it’s not so harsh on the stem.
When it comes to the length, that really depends on the vase in which you’ll place the flowers. Generally speaking, every bouquet looks its fullest and best when the flowers are closer to the vase lip. If you’re unsure of the intended length, you can always start small and then cut further if desired/needed.
Finally, any leaves that will be below the water level in the vase must be removed, as they will deteriorate and rot – not to mention all the bacteria and fungi they can accumulate, which can’t be good to extend the life of your flowers. Removing the leaves will also give the whole arrangement a better aesthetic and a cleaner look. Needless to say, be gentle when getting rid of the leaves – better cut them than pull them off, as it acts like an open wound, where potential bacteria can come in.
Water is one of the main factors that can cut a flower’s life short. Lack of water would be a problem, yes, but more than that is the quality of water that you use, the temperature and its cleanliness. Bacteria and fungi are everywhere; ready to enter the cut surface of the stem and multiply. A plant’s root system serves as a filter to limit dirt, microorganisms and chemicals from entering – but because cut flowers do not have this natural filter, you need to ensure the water of the vase is always pure and clean.
There are several tricks to keep the water clean. The easier one is probably using bleach in the vase’s water. Don’t freak out, as it’s only a little bit, just to keep bacteria from growing on the water – much like potable water has some traces of chlorine as well. Simply add ¼ teaspoon of bleach per 1 litre of vase water. The water will last longer, it’ll look way clearer and the flowers will appreciate it for sure.
When it comes to filling the vase, use lukewarm water, as most flowers take in warm water more efficiently than cold. But certain blooms, like tulips and hyacinths, prefer their water to be cold. Lastly, check the water daily – not only for cleanliness, but also to see if it’s at the right level. As soon as you see the water level getting too low, even of the water is fresh, you should exchange it.
3. Flower food and nutrients
When a flower is attached to a plant, it receives all the nutrients and goodness it needs to thrive from the plant (and thus from the roots and the soil), allowing it to grow and develop. But when the flowers are cut from the plant, this rich source of nutrients is gone. That’s when flower food comes in handy, as its purpose is to give the flowers similar nutrients and minerals that they would’ve received if they were still in the wild or their original environment. While some people think sugar might do the trick, it’s best to purchase the flower food developed by professionals or use the free sachet that comes with the flowers – as it has specific nutrients for the flowers. These typically include:
- Sucrose – that serves as a source of energy and makes up for the loss of the functioning leaves
- Acidifier – which helps bring the water’s pH closer to the acid pH of the plant;
- Inhibitor of microorganisms – which helps reduce the growth of bacteria in the water
- Certain agents – that get rid of salts, dirt and debris which otherwise would be absorbed by the flower’s stem.
Caring for your Gift Flowers
Flowers can bring us so much joy. Whether they are in our room, kitchen or living room, they always make the space look happier, warmer and cosier. While we wish they could last forever, that’s not the case. Thankfully, by doing the simple tricks mentioned above, such as using flower food; making sure the vase’s water is clean and at the right temperature; and cutting the stems and extra leaves off; you’ll ensure that your precious and gorgeous flowers can stay alive and beautiful for longer.