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Caring for Your Fresh Cut Flowers

Updated: Jan 23

A bouquet of fresh cut flowers

Look at those beautiful cut flowers you just brought home. You may be wondering how to keep your bouquet looking as lovely and fresh as that very first day. I must admit, I used to be one of those people where my flowers would wilt after two days. I have learned a lot about flower care since then and am ready to share my wisdom. Here is the "how to" and the "why?" so you can share this knowledge with other flower lovers. Understanding "why" we do something gives the "how" more meaning and helps us remember better.

If you follow these guidelines religiously, your specialty cut flowers should last at least a week. Some flowers have a longer vase life than others so I suggest swapping out the old flowers with some new, fresh cut flowers to extend the life of your arrangement. Calluna Flower Truck has specialty cut flowers each week to supplement your bouquet.

1. Fill your vase-As soon as you get home, find a vase and clean it with water and bleach. Super clean vases prevent bacteria growth. Fill 3/4 of the vase with lukewarm water which will help the flowers take up nutrients (step 3). Flowers are thirsty and can drink an inch of water per day.

2. Prepare flowers-Follow these steps to keep your flowers hydrated, ensure they are receiving nutrients, and prevent bacteria growth.

First, remove the leaves on the stems that will be below the water line. You do not want any leaves, petals, or dirt in the water. Your water will turn green, slimy, and smelly. Yuck! You may also trim excess foliage above the water line such as dead leaves to conserve flower energy. Calluna Flower Truck already does this step when conditioning flowers.

Second, give your flowers a fresh cut using a thoroughly clean sharp knife, clippers, or pruners. Avoid scissors as they can crush the stem and prevent water uptake. Cut about 1-1.5 inches off each stem at an angle and immediately place the stem in the vase. Flowers that are left out too long will scab over which will prevent water uptake.

3. Preserve flowers-Use commercial floral food/preservative to prolong the vase life of your cut flowers. There are 3 main ingredients in floral food: a sugar to nourish, a biocide to keep water clean, and an acidifier to lower the water pH. Use the correct ratio of food to water, as too much preservative can burn the flowers.

This home remedy also works:

– add 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon household bleach, 2 teaspoons lemon juice to 1 quart lukewarm water.

4. Arrange Flowers-Be creative. Create air and space between blooms so they each have their moment of appreciation.

5. Vase Location-While most flowers love the sun when they are in the ground, this is not true when in a vase in your home. Do not place your vase in an area that is warm, drafty, or where there is bright or direct sunlight. This will cause your flowers to wilt. To perk them up overnight, place in a cool dark room or outside if the temperature is below 50. Except for a few summer flowers (e.g., sunflowers, zinnias), flowers like the cold as low as 36 degrees.

A note of caution. Do not refrigerate your flowers if you have vegetables or fruit in your fridge. The ethylene from fruit and vegetables can cause wilting and dying of your cut flowers.

6. Rinse and Repeat-Repeat this process every two days to keep your water clean so your flowers can thrive, taking up essential water and nutrients.

Take time out for yourself to admire your flower bouquet. It will bring you joy and beauty every day.

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