Top 10 tips to make your cut flowers last longer!
Updated: May 27
To help you get the most out of your flowers and make them last longer, follow our top 10 tips to elongate the vase-life of your cut flowers!
1. Clean vase
Always start with a clean vase. You wouldn’t serve fresh food on a dirty plate and the same goes for flowers. Start off with a clean slate so that your flowers don’t get bacteria immediately.
2. Fresh water
Clean, room temperature water works just fine. To make the buds open up quicker, use luke-warm water.
3. Cut your stems at a slant
Always cut all flowers at a slant (about 45-degree angle). Cutting the stems at a slant allows for greater surface area for higher absorption of water.
Remove any leaves and debris that may fall below the water line. This not only makes your flower arrangement look better but it also slows the growth of bacteria.
5. Remove guard petals
Some flowers, such as roses, have guard petals. Guard petals are the bigger, outer-most petals of a bud and their purpose is to protect the inner, fresher, more delicate petals. There are usually about 2-3 guard petals in a rose.
Guard petals usually look shrivelled or wilted/brown. A lot of people take this as a sign of a rose gone bad but that is the nature of a guard petal. It is standard practice for florists to retain the guard petals in a bouquet. This is done to ensure that during transport, the guard petals act as a barrier and protects the inner petals for accidental damage.
Once the flowers reach your home, the guard petals have done its job and it’s usually a good idea to take them off for 2 reasons:
Removing guard petals allow your flower to open up fully.
Cut flowers require a lot of energy to keep their blooms fresh and they do not discriminate on how they spread that energy. Leaving the guard petals or extra leaves on takes energy away from the other more attractive, fresher petals. By removing the guard petals, you’re allowing your roses to expend their energy on the more attractive petals.
To remove the guard petals, place the base of the guard petal between your forefinger and thumb and gently tug it to remove it from the bud. It should come off fairly easily without excessive use of force.
6. Add flower food.
Flower food provides nutrients to your flowers. There are a lot of commercial flower food packets available in the market but an equally effective home-recipe involves 3 ingredients - sugar, vinegar and bleach.
FYI - Certain commercial flower foods make the buds open quicker and should be used only on the first day of the flower's vase life.
Sugar contains carbohydrates which feed the flower when they are cut. They help to open up buds and extend the vitality of the blossom. One can either use ordinary sugar, brown sugar or sweet soda water such as Sprite. However, do not bother adding Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi! They do not contain sugar and are thus ineffective.
Vinegar lowers the pH value of water. pH is a scale used to determine how acidic or basic a water-based solution is. Acidic solutions have a lower pH, while basic solutions have a higher pH (pure water is neither acidic nor basic and has a pH of 7).
By lowering the pH value of water, vinegar makes water more acidic and this aids flowers in two ways:
Lower pH helps flowers absorb more water;
An acidic environment inhibits the growth of microbes. Microbes are fed by decaying plant material and ironically, the sugar that you placed in the water. They cut the life expectancy of flowers.
Bleach also aids in inhibiting the growth of microbores in the vase, making the water in the vase less murky and cloudy.
Add one tablespoon of sugar, one tablespoon of vinegar and 2-3 drops of bleach to about 1 litre of water.
7. Change the water frequently
Change the water in the vase regularly, once every 2-3 days. Always change the water the moment it turns murky.
8. Retrim stems
When possible, retrim the stems of your flowers regularly. Cut off just an inch or so. By re-cutting the stem, you're not only removing the calloused ends or rot, you’re also opening up the stem to allow for more absorption of water.
9. Vase placement
Do not place the vase in direct sunlight, near AC vents, heaters or fans, or next to windows where they will be subject to drafts. They dehydrate flowers quickly. Place the flowers in a cool, shaded area.
10. No to fruit bowls!
Do not place flowers near fruits. Ripening fruits release small amounts of ethylene gas which can reduce the longevity of flowers.
We at Bloombombs pride ourselves in getting some of the freshest, juiciest flowers to our clients around Mumbai. Our flower bouquets are super fresh and we love nothing more than knowing they are well taken care of once they leave our hands.