Making the Most of Your Fresh Flowers
Updated: Feb 3
1 Pick the flowers in the cool of the morning ensuring they are well hydrated. Have a sterilised bucket of fresh water with you to place the flowers in as you pick them. To sterilise your bucket wash it as you would normally do and then rinse it out with a small amount of bleach.
2 Using sharp flower picking scissors, cut flowers to a growth point on the plant. Remove unwanted foliage and place in the bucket of water.
3 Place your flowers in a cool area for a couple of hours before preparing them for a vase.
4 Once you have selected your vase, wash and sterilise it like you did for your picking bucket.
5 Use a sharp, non-serrated knife to cut approximately 1cm off the bottom of the stems, at an angle. Do not use scissors as they will crush the stems and prevent them absorbing water. For woody and thicker stems you can use sharp garden shears. Also remove all leaves that will be below the water line, if left they will breed bacteria. If it is safe to do so, cut the stems in a bowl of room temperature water. Doing this will prevent extra air entering the stems. To prevent an airlock in flowers like tulips, pierce the stems with a needle a few times.
6 Following are some proven methods for keeping your flowers fresh:
Bleach will help keep flowers from wilting too fast and prevent mold from growing in the water and turning it cloudy. Add 1/4 teaspoon of bleach per 1 litre of water.
Sugar can help open up buds and keep them blooming longer by providing nutrients.
Sugar can be mixed with white vinegar, vodka, bleach, aspirin, or fresh lemon juice to add an extra kick to the flower water.
Vodka could be responsible for inhibiting ethylene production in plants which might help in slowing down their wilting. Add a few drops of vodka to water along with 1 teaspoon of sugar.
Aspirin can mimic the effects of the traditional flower food that comes with a bouquet of flowers. Crush one aspirin tablet and dissolve in the water before adding the flowers.
7 Plants absorb moisture through their leaves and flowers. Misting cut flowers lightly throughout the day will help to extend their life.
8 Take into consideration where you place your vase of flowers. Ethylene is emitted by certain fruits (eg tomatoes, bananas, kiwi fruit and apples) and plants. it is a gas that will cause flowers to wilt.
Avoid areas that are subject to heat and drafts eg windows and air conditioners.
9 To ensure a long vase life, you need to be prepared to maintain your cut flowers. Change the water every second day. Flowers will age at a different rate. Remove spent flowers and leaves and replace with fresh.
Others with more woody stems will need to have approximately 2cm removed from the stem every second day. Cut at an angle. You may need to change your vase as your bunch of flowers change.
10 Check the water level of your vase every day. Some flowers and vegetation will grow and others will absorb lots of water. Top up when needed.
How to Condition...
Sweet Peas - Pick the flowers often as this increases the number of flowers the plant will produce. Removing seed pods prolongs the flowering. Flowers are best picked when the bloom at the bottom of the stem is just beginning to open. Pick flowers during the coolest part of the day. Adding sugar to the water will extend the life of the flowers.