There are so many different products, hints and tips given when you search online for 'making cut flowers last'. Here, we share our guide for enjoying your flowers in your home for as long as possible.
This guide is suitable for the vast majority of the flowers we grow and sell. There are a few special cases which require a more detailed explanation which we will cover in future blog posts (next up on the blog we will discuss all the myths surrounding spring bulbs as cut flowers and increasing their vase life).
We do not use or include flower food or floral preservatives with our flowers. This is a conclusion we have reached after lots of trials and research into maximising vase life as well as our commitment to not using chemicals on the flowers while growing in the field. It seems counterintuitive to grow our flowers naturally, without spraying them with pesticides and fungicides to then feed them a synthetic preservative once cut (and then give to our customers to have and potentially inhale as the flowers continue to transpire in the vase).
We find that by following these steps we actually achieve a longer vase life than by using a sachet of commercial flower food so it feels a win win to us!
1. Clean your vase
A sparkling clean vase is one of the most important steps to ensuring maximum vase life. It should be so clean you would be happy drinking out of it! A dirty vase will contain bacteria which clog up stems and prevent them taking up water which will significantly reduce the flowers' vase life.
2. Fill your vase to about 2/3rds full with cool, clean water
Again, clean water is essential for maximum vase life.
3. Carefully remove the wrapping from the bouquet
This can be re-used, recycled or composted at home.
4. Cut the stems at a 45 degree angle with a sharp, clean pair of scissors or secateurs
Cutting at a 45 degree angle increases the surface area available for the flower to take up water and prevents the stem sitting flat on the bottom of the vase which can create a seal. Sharp scissors ensure you make a clean cut, whereas blunt scissors may crush the stem and reduce the flower's ability to take up water. Clean scissors also prevent any bacteria transferring to the stem which will quickly multiply in the vase.
5. Cut the twine holding the bouquet together and gently lower the flowers into your vase
Check there are no leaves below the water line as these will quickly start to decompose adding to the bacteria in the vase (and you guessed it - prevent the stems from taking up water!)
6. Place your flowers in a cool room, out of direct sunlight and away from draughts
There are various locations within your home that will reduce vase life, so these are worth considering. Placing in a hot room, in direct sunlight with a regular draught coming in from opening and closing the door is a sure fire way to make your flowers go over quickly!
If the flowers are in a warm room during the day, you could move them to a cooler spot overnight to rest such as a downstairs cloakroom or utility room.
It is a good idea to keep your flowers away from the fruit bowl as ripening fruit give off the gas Ethylene which will also make your flowers go over more quickly.
7. Change the water in the vase regularly and recut the stems
For the longest vase life change the water and clean the vase at least every other day to prevent the bacteria building up. Recut the stems at the same time, again at the 45 degree angle to refresh the flower's drinking capacity.
If you are worried about having the time to be able to do this, you can add a drop of bleach or a quarter of a Milton sterilising tablet to the water to help prevent the bacteria building up.
8. Remove any flowers as they start to fade or go over
The last thing to say is all flowers have different lengths of time that they will last in a vase. Some are fleeting beauties such as a poppy, while others can last a good three weeks such as chrysanthemum. At Featherstone's English Flower Co. we grow a huge variety of flowers and foliage and so are able to design our bouquets with a gorgeous mixture of seasonal flowers. Some flowers may be short lived but it seems such a shame to not include them as part of our bouquets as they can be the most scented, delicate and beautiful flowers on our field. These are often the flowers that aren't typically seen in retail bouquets as they can't withstand the demands of the international cut flower trade. Therefore, by including them we create unique, scented, natural arrangements reflecting the array of colour and texture in our field. Our bouquets will always contain flowers, fillers and foliage that we expect to last at least 7 days, often up to 14 days if properly cared for following this guide.