Setting Your Flowers Up For Success
As a florist, I live and breathe flowers, and most of those flowers are cut flowers for arrangements, poseys, installations, and such. Cut flowers are not meant to last forever, but there are things you can do to keep them fresh for as long as possible once you’ve brought them home. Us florists do our very best to care for each stem and blossom in our care so they can be beautiful for you, but there are simple tricks you can do to make them feel right at home
Set For Success
- Once you have cut flowers at home, whether in a posey or a bouquet, you’ll want to cut each stem at a 45 degree angle. This helps flowers absorb as much water as possible because it provides the most surface area.
- Add one DROP of bleach. Truly just a drop. No more than that.
- Change the water every OTHER day! Keeping flowers in the same water encourages bacteria growth, which makes them wilt and go bad much faster. So when you keep the water fresh it prevents bacteria from making a nice cozy home in your vase.
- Keep your flowers anywhere but the kitchen, and if they must be in the kitchen keep them away from the stove. Flowers stay fresh longest in cool environments; kitchens are warm, steamy and make flowers wilt faster.
- Display your flowers out of direct sunlight. This will prevent sun scorching.
Are They Fresh?
- Check the flower and stem for yellowing, brown, or drooping leaves.
- When buying roses, squeeze the head or blossom. If it’s firm, the flower is very fresh! If it bounces back to its original shape, then it’s still fresh! But if you squeeze and the petals separate from the head or it seems mushy, the rose is about to die, so move on!
- Greenery isn’t hard to tell if it’s fresh; just look at the stem to make sure there isn’t any mold or if the leaves are crunchy.
- ASK! If you still want to know, ask your florist when they received the flowers. If they’re over a week old, don’t buy them. The only exceptions are carnations, alstroemeria, and chrysanthemums last a long time, as long as they have been stored properly in a cooler they should be fine.
Tips & Tricks
- Instead of ordering an arrangement, order a wrapped bunch of flowers from your florist. You will get more flowers for less! You can use a vase you already own.
- You can save a lot of money by ordering your flowers ahead and picking them up instead of having them delivered!
- If you do have flowers sent to someone, make sure to make sure the recipient will be home. If they can’t be home, see if a neighbor can accept the flowers on their behalf because flowers should not be left outside for more than 20 minutes, especially during the warmer months.
- Call your florist the last day they’re open during the week—normally Friday or Saturday—to see if they have leftovers from the week! Sometimes florists will lower prices to empty their cooler.
There are a bunch of popular myths out there about ways to keep flowers fresh. Not only are they wrong, they often make flowers wilt even faster than if you were to leave them completely alone and do nothing.
- No Sprite!!! This is a surprisingly popular myth. Adding Sprite (or any soda) to flower water messes with the flower’s sugar content. It also encourages bacteria growth.
- No Vodka!!! Similar to Sprite, it just doesn’t help at all in any way.
- No Pennies!!! Another very popular myth. Pennies are a bacteria magnet. When you put a penny in your flower water, you’re basically inviting your flowers’ early demise.
- Don’t sugar your water. Why this started? I don’t know, but it’s wrong. It will encourage early wilting and mess with the flowers' chemical makeup.
- One drop of bleach is fine and even helpful in keeping flowers healthy longer, but do not add any more than that. More than a drop becomes harmful to the flowers.
- White roses are susceptible to crêpey brown lines on their petals. People often believe it’s because the rose is dying, but that’s not at all true. What it is is the rose reacting to water dripping on the petals. Other colors of roses can do this too, but it’s far more common for white roses.
- There’s a design myth that flowers should be arranged in threes. It is a basic design principle, but it is one of those rules that can and sometimes should be broken. Design is about creating balance, and balance is always more important than a set number. But at the end of the day, if you’re arranging flowers, do whatever brings you joy because that’s all that matters.