There are several processes that flower farmers use to ensure customers are getting the freshest flowers possible with the most extended vase life. One of the essential factors in keeping flowers fresh is hydration. During the day’s heat, flowers lose water through a process called transpiration. Warmer temperatures during the day can cause the flowers to lose moisture quicker than their roots can replace it, resulting in wilting. So, flower farmers typically harvest their flowers in the early morning and evening when the temperatures are cooler. At this time, the stems are filled with carbohydrates and water. After cutting the stem, excess foliage is removed, which helps prevent bacteria and allows the bloom to get maximum hydration. Cut stems are immediately placed in a clean, sterilized bucket with fresh water. They are allowed to condition for several hours before arranging, allowing them ample time to rehydrate and destress. Once conditioned, flowers are put into bunches or bouquets and handed off to customers. The farmers have done everything they can to give you the freshest flowers possible; now, how can you keep them that way?
Once you have a bouquet from your garden or ours, how do you get the maximum vase life? We want to share with you five tips for keeping your bouquet looking fresher for longer.
Step 1: Trim Those Stems:
As our wounds heal by scabbing over, so will cut flower stems. When stems heal over, less water can travel up to the bloom. Therefore, stems should be recut before placing them in a vase and every 1 to 3 days to keep them well hydrated. To do this, use sharp, clean snips, and cut off the bottom 1 to 2 inches of the stem. For the best results, trim the stems at a 45-degree angle to increase the surface area that can absorb water. Cutting at an angle will also prevent the stem ends from sitting flush to the bottom of the vase, blocking adequate water absorption.
Step 2: Use a Clean Vase:
The saying in the flower world is that you should be able to drink out of your flower buckets and vases. That is how clean you want them to be. So, before placing your fresh flowers in a vase, wash it thoroughly with soap and warm water. You can also use a small amount of bleach while cleaning and rinse well. Bacteria in dirty vases will multiply and block water absorption causing your flowers to die sooner. Make sure to wash and rinse your vase every few days throughout the life of your bouquet.
Step 3: Keep the Water Clean and Plentiful
As we discussed earlier, hydration is key to keeping flowers looking fresh and lasting longer. Clean water is essential in lengthening flower vase life as bacteria can multiply quickly in standing water. Make sure to change the water in your vase every 1 to 2 days for the best results. Also, make sure no foliage is under the water line. Decaying leaves in the water will also lead to bacterial growth and premature wilting. Ample water is equally important. Freshly cut flowers tend to drink a lot. So, provide plenty of fresh water in the vase to ensure all stems are well below the water line. Speaking of stems, give them a good rinse under the faucet when changing the water in the vase. Submerged stems can sometimes get a little slimy and, you guessed it, lead to bacterial growth.
Step 4: Location, Location, Location
Now that you have your freshly trimmed flower stems in a vase with clean water, the next step is where to place the vase. There are a few things to remember when choosing where to display your blooms.
- Keep your flowers out of direct sunlight and away from other heat sources. Once cut, flowers prefer to be kept in a cool, shaded location. The windowsill, while tempting, is not ideal.
- Keep flowers away from drafts. Drafts and breezes, whether warm or cold, can reduce the lifespan of your blooms by encouraging the evaporation of water from the petals and leaves. If possible, keep your fresh-cut flowers away from heaters, air conditioners, fans, and appliances that generate heat.
- Keep flowers away from ripening fruits and vegetables. When ripening, fruits and vegetables release ethylene gas. This gas will speed up the decay of your flowers, causing them to wilt.
Step 5: Remove Wilted Flowers and Foliage
As your bouquet ages, the flowers will inevitably fade and wilt. Wilting flowers also release ethylene gas which will cause the other flowers in the bouquet to speed up their life cycle. To prevent premature wilting, remove all dying flowers and foliage so that they don’t shorten the life of the others in the bouquet.
And, if I may add one more bonus tip: local is best. Whether from your own garden or a nearby flower farmer, local flowers will be fresher than those shipped across the globe. The shorter the time from that first cut to your table, the better. So, consider growing flowers in your garden and supporting your local flower farmers so that you can enjoy fresher, longer-lasting blooms.
Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, the flowers will eventually die. Like all living things, flowers have a life cycle. Their beauty may be fleeting, but just as in life, it is essential to enjoy it while you can. Flowers remind us of how important it is to enjoy our lives; perhaps that’s why we love them. But, with these tips, you can help your cut flowers live their most extended, freshest life. And longer vase life equals longer enjoyment. So, why not follow these tips to show your flowers some love?