You are here: Home » Caring For Flowers

Caring For Flowers

Fresh Flowers are always a delight to have in the house.  They are not always the cheapest treat so it makes sense to try and make your flowers last as long as possible.  Flowers, like humans, respond best to a little tender loving care. Here's a few tips

Condition your flowers
Fill the sink with warm water so the stems can be cut underwater.  Strip the foliage below the container waterline and cut the stems individually or in groups underwater. This ensures their vascular cells are wide open to take up water. Place immediately into vase or container mixed with the flower food that the florist will normally provide, or they'll dry out and you've defeated the object of cutting.

Don't Crush the Stems 
Never ever bash stems, even if that's what your Mum told you to do, as it is actually the kiss of death to most flowers. All crushing achieves is the mangling of the cells into such a state they have little chance of taking up water. Always cut the stems at a sharp angle using a knife if possible, or very sharp scissors.

Use clean vases and fresh water 
Flowers need water - lots of it. They are happier and will live longer in a vase of water rather than in floral foam.  The vase should allows the stems a deep well of water. Make sure there are no leaves sitting below the water line, as not only will they rot and release harmful bacteria, which kills flowers, but they'll also consume vast amounts of the nutrients in the flower food rather than it getting up the stem and into the flower tops.

Maintain the look of your flowers 
Repeat the process three or four days later, removing any wilting or dead flower heads so that the water supply is sent to the flowers still blooming or, in the case of multi-headed varieties, still to open.

Daffodils Daffodils
The first sign that spring is here. A vase of these will add colour and brightness to any room. However do be careful as they ooze a latex slime, so you shouldn't mix them with other flowers unless you've got one of the special flower foods (or stand them in water for 12 hours or so and don't cut them again.)   

Lisianthus or Eustoma
A relatively new flower, but one which has already one of  top selling flowers. Comes in a slection of colours such as white, pink, purple and various  bi-colours They will last around 7 - 10 days. Like any multi-headed flower you need to remove old heads to give the new buds a chance to open. 

Whether it's a standard Carnation, which now come in a whole range of colours or spray carnation which look superb in  mixed coloured bunches, these flowers will last for a couple of weeks with ease and really need very little looking after. Just remember though, like most flowers, carnations are sensitive to ethylene which is naturally emitted by fruits, so try to keep them away from the fruit bowl. 
Chrysanthemum Chrysanthemum
Another long lasting flower, which you should manage to make last well over two weeks. Lots of new colours are now available which will always be sure to suit your mood and cheer you up. Chrysanthemum are now one of the more fashionable flowers. Make sure you remove any dead or damaged buds to ensure the rest of the head stays fresh.   
Gerbera Gerbera
Also known as the Transvaal Daisy. 

Often florists will gently wire them to give greater stability, this doesn't affect their vase life which should be around 7 - 10 days. 

A really delicate flower that will probably only last a week; but has an amazing smell which improves as the air gets warmer. What you lose in vase life is easily compensated  in delicate beauty.   

Lilies Lilies
Always some of the most spectacular flowers around and available in a choice of shapes. Asiatics are the most common, while Orientals have a stylish angular look. Longiflorum are extremely elegant and Calla are one of the most fashionable on the market. Orientals and Asiatics will last the longest, but all varieties are capable of lasting 2 to 3 weeks. Can be a bit pricey, but  rarely disappoint. 
Roses Roses
The classic choice of course  They should last about a week, but can be prone to drooping. However if they seem a bit wimpish, try wrapping them in a wet newspaper and stand in cool water overnight.
Tulips Tulips
These flowers actually keep growing in the vase, which is why they get longer and curvier. They should last around a week. And if they grow too unwieldy, simply (re-)cut the stems to suit the vase.