Flower arranging is not only creative and fun, but a beautiful way to showcase or share the beauty of your garden. Here are some simple tips to make your flowers last longer once picked:
When To Cut For Long-Lasting Flowers
- The best time to cut flowers from your garden is early in the morning or late in the evening, when temperatures are cooler.
- Flowers cut during mid-day, tend to experience more shock and have a harder time recuperating. Many will wilt within a day of being cut.
- Choose flowers that are not completely open. Since flowers will naturally open in vases on their own, it’s ok to cut premature flowers (nearly-open buds); they will last longer in a vase.
- Make sure to cut an inch off the bottoms of the stems right before arranging them. Flowers always need a fresh cut before placing in a vase.
- The best tools to use for cutting flowers are floral snips or scissors that are sharp and clean. Using dirty scissors introduces bacteria into the flower stem and kills a flower faster.
Vase life can be shortened by fungus and bacteria. Always clean and sanitize tools, buckets or vases used in harvesting and arranging.
9 Steps To Making Cut Flowers Last Longer
- After cutting the flowers, have a clean bucket of tepid water close by so you can put flowers in the water right away. Keep stems a little long so you can recut them if needed while arranging them later.
- Cut flowers in the morning. Plants take up water at night and are refreshed and hydrated in the morning.
- Choose flowers that are not fully open; about 75% open will give you a longer vase life.
- Cut stems at an angle to increase the area that the stem can take up water.
- Remove any leaves that would be touching water in the vase to prevent fungus and bacteria from growing.
- Mixing a floral preservative with warm water is the best preservative option. These preservatives contain sugars to keep flowers fresh, an acidifier to raise the pH of tap water, and biocides to keep fungus and bacteria at bay.
- Once in the vase, place flowers away from direct sunlight, heat, drafts, or fruit. When fruit ripens, it emits gasses that cause flowers to age more quickly.
- Putting flowers in the refrigerator at night before bed has proven to make bouquets last several days longer.
- The most important step is also the easiest—change your vase water every 2 to 3 days.
Homemade Flower Preservative
Do-it-yourself mixes can be as effective as commercial preservatives. This easy-to-make recipe is my favorite:
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon household bleach
2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice
1 quart lukewarm water
Getting The Conditions Just Right
- Cut flowers can be sensitive to their environment. Placing flowers near fruit is risky because fruit produces ethylene gas, which causes flowers to wilt.
- Flowers last longer at cooler temperatures, however if flowers get too cold they will freeze. Keep flowers away from drafty doors, or windows.
- If flowers are placed near a heat source they will die faster, so keep flowers away from wood stoves, heat vents and hot windows.