Bang for Your Bloom
Fresh cut flowers are one of simplest ways to add life, beauty and class to your home or office. They are known to improve mood and lower anxiety and may even boost your creativity! Fresh flowers are the easiest thing I can think of that says to your subconscious, “I care about my home and myself” as well as being a welcoming sign to guests.
However, this only applies to fresh flowers. Wilting, half –dead flowers and rotting away stems sends the opposite message and could even be a health hazard. Given the limited life span of cut flowers, how do you make them last so you don’t end up spending a fortune on blooms?
Here are a few basic tips to get the longest life out of your flowers:
- Trim stems at a 45 degree angle before putting them into the vase
- Use a clean vase (bacteria = quickly dying flowers)
- Keep flowers out of direct sunlight and away from heat or drafts
- Remove all the leaves from the part of the stem submerged in water to prevent them from rotting away in the water
- Remove dying flowers immediately, as the gasses they emit will cause other flowers to wilt faster
- Re-cut the stems every few days
- Change water every couple of days
There are also some other tricks to keep blooms spruced up longer. I’ve heard of people spritzing the underside of leaves and petals with hairspray. (Since I have not personally tried this, if you give it a shot or have tried this in the past let me know in the comments how it worked out!)
Numerous other suggestions have been made to make flowers last longer, most of them designed to inhibit bacteria growth in the water which is a major contributing factor to short-lived cut flowers. Considering they are slowly dying from the moment they are trimmed, there is only so long they will last anyway! The attempts I’ve found with a web search are adding two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and two tablespoons of sugar to water (vinegar for bacteria discouragement and sugar for plant food), using a few drops of vodka and a teaspoon of sugar in the water (same idea), crushing an aspirin into the water, using ¼ tsp bleach per quart of water, and putting a penny in the bottom of the vase. However, Gardenista tested some of these and found them, in general, to be no better than just plain water.
Rather than resorting to these efforts, I think there are two main ways to get the most out of your flowers. First, follow the guidelines above for basic cut flower care. Second, choose blooms that are known to be the longest lasting after cut. Here are some to try:
- Roses (7-10 days)
- Orchids (14-21 days)
- Carnations 14-21 days
- Chrysanthemums 25-30 days
- Lilies 14 days
- Gladiolas 14 days
Thanks to Not Too Tall for the flower life estimates!
Remember this is from the time cut. If your flowers have been sitting in the store for a week you won’t get two weeks out of them.
Sometimes you just get lucky. The photo above of the daisies in my kitchen was taken on the eleventh day after purchase and they still look bright and fresh! All I used was the plant food that came with them and have changed out the water at least every other day. They ended up lasting me well over two weeks.
If you have some tricks that have worked for you please share them in the comments!