10 Ways To Extend The Life Of Fresh-Cut Flowers Like a Professional™

1. Florists realize the virtue of cutting flower stems under water before transferring them from bucket to vase. When flower and foliage stems are exposed to air they will immediately begin to seal up inhibiting the absorption of much needed nutrients. Secondly, when fresh cut stems are exposed to air, bubbles of air become trapped in the stems, preventing the steady flow of water to uptake through the stem.

2. Florists and commercial growers use lukewarm water for their cut flowers. The water temperature should be comfortable to the wrist, approximately 100°F to 110°F. Theobject is to facilitate the water and nutrients to get to the head of the flower as quickly as possible. Warm water molecules move faster than cold water molecules and thus will greatly enhance the absorption process. The one exception to this rule is bulb flowers, such as tulips, tend to thrive in cooler water.

3. Florists know that a well balanced preservative solution drastically increases the longevity of cut flowers. Under normal circumstances, the plant will supply what the flower needs; however, when severed, the flower becomes immediately deprived of these essential nutrients. Commercial preservatives offer a form of these nutrients to the cut flower. Such solutions contain sugar for nutrition, antibiotics to fight bacteria, and citric acid to add necessary acidity to the water. When using a commercially produced or homemade preservative, always be sure to use the recommended measurements. The recipe included with this article offers the same preservative properties found in most commercial brands, and is extremely effective in prolonging the vase life.

Flower Preservative Recipe:
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon bleach
2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice
1 quart lukewarm water

4. Florists know that clean, bacteria free, shears or clippers, made specifically for cutting plant stems vastly improves a flower’s ability to uptake fluids. Using ordinary scissors, made for cutting fabric or paper will crush the flower’s vascular system, and prevent proper water uptake. A bulkier gauge tool, designed for cutting stems, will create a sharper cut, causing less damage to the stems delicate vain system.

5. Florists realize the advantages of cutting flowers and foliage at an angle and approximately one inch up from the bottom of the main stem. Cutting a 45 degree angle near the bottom of the stem provides a larger, more exposed area for the uptake of the water. In addition, the angle also enables the stem to stand on a point, allowing the water to be in contact with more of the cut surface.

6. Florists are aware that recut limp flowers enables the stem to readily absorb more water. A fresh cut will open the veins up allowing the flower stem to absorb necessary nutrients.

7. Florists are aware that keeping fresh cut flowers away from drafts, direct sunlight, and ripening fruit drastically prolongs the longevity of a bouquet . Ripening fruit emits ethylene gas, which encourages poor petal color, discourages petals from opening, and shortens the overall vase life of a bouquet. In addition, direct sunlight and drafts are also major culprits in shortening the life and beauty of a fresh flower bouquet.

8. Florists know that keeping the Oasis foam clean, fresh and soaking in preservative treated water extends the vase life of a floral arrangement. If your bouquet arrives in wet Oasis foam, keep the floral foam soaking wet by adding a small amount of preservative treated water each day. In addition if, after a few days, the Oasis is carefully removed (while keeping the flower stems inside the Oasis), and allowed to drain for only a few minutes, then placed back in a clean vase with fresh preservative treated water, the bouquet’s life can last far beyond the normally expected vase life.

9. Florists know that the stems of hollow-stemmed flowers will benefit from being manually filled with water. Simply turn the flower upside down and pour water into the open cavity of the stalk. To keep the liquid in, plug the stem with a small piece of cotton, then place it in the vase, or place your thumb over the opening at the bottom of the stem and place it in the water. The water trapped inside will keep the stem strong and straight.

10. Florists understand the advantages of removing excess foliage and dieing, wilted blooms. By removing all the lower foliage when initially creating a bouquet, and by tossing the dead flowers as they begin to die, the vase life of an arrangement can be lengthened or even doubled. Changing the water, adding the correct amounts of new preservative, and rearranging the bouquet to compensate for any loss, will also lengthen the cut flower’s general appearance and overall freshness. Simply by taking simple steps to freshen the bouquet, retarding the bacterial growth, you can increase the beauty and life of a bouquet while also creating a bright, appealing floral arrangement that will last well beyond its anticipated expiration.€™t

by: Janet Arango

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