Cut flowers can be snipped for your own garden or bought from the florist or grocery store. They make a beautiful addition to any kitchen, dining, or coffee table, and they're an excellent gift for just about any occasion.
Most people know the downside to cut flowers is how short their lifespan is once they've been removed from the soil. Luckily, some tricks can keep your bouquet fresh and looking stunning for as long as possible.
Although you can put any cut flower into a vase, some varieties fade and wilt quicker than others. Some of the best flowers for cut arrangements are
Annual varieties — as opposed to perennials — are usually best for cut arrangements, as their blooming periods are much longer.
If your freshly cut flowers are coming straight out of your garden, there is a correct way to harvest them to ensure they will not wilt as fast. Harvest them in the morning, when temperatures are still cool and the blooms are holding the most water they will all day. Flowers picked on a hot afternoon are more likely to wilt faster.
It is a good practice to cut your fresh flowers as soon as you get them home. Flowers have a vascular system within their stem, meaning that this is how they draw up water and nutrients. Cutting the flower's stem allows maximum water absorption. Use sharp scissors or pruning shears, and cut at a diagonal, snipping at least one inch off before you place them in water.
Snip off any leaves below the waterline; this not only makes your bouquet look better but also prevents bacterial growth. Some flowers, such as roses, have guard petals that prevent your flower from fully opening. You can remove these petals if you wish to see your flower in full bloom.
Inspect your bouquet daily to see if it needs any additional pruning to remove any dead or loose leaves and petals.
Cutting the stems of your flowers can sometimes allow air bubbles to form in the stem. To prevent this from happening, cut your stems underwater. Alternatively, put your flowers into a vase of water immediately after cutting. Room temperature water is best — if it's too hot, it can cook your flowers! Bulbs that flower in cooler months, such as daffodils and tulips, thrive best in water just under room temperature.
It might surprise some people to learn that vase size is an important part of preserving a cut flower arrangement. If the opening is too narrow, the stems may be cramped. On the other hand, if the mouth of the vase is too wide, the vase will swallow your flowers and they may take on too much water. Make sure your vase is clean to prevent the growth of bacteria that could cause your petals and leaves to die off.
Many floral arrangements come with a small packet of flower food. This is usually just a mixture of sugar, citric acid, and an antibacterial powder. The sugar provides nourishment, the citric acid helps balance the ph, and the antibacterial powder prevents wilting.
If your floral arrangement didn't come with a packet, you can make your own flower food. Mix a few drops of bleach, a sprinkle of sugar, and a crushed vitamin C tablet into the vase water.
Freshly cut flowers can use a little bit of sunlight, but do not need a lot. The flowers aren't actively growing anymore, so the rays aren't as beneficial for the bulbs as when they were rooted in the ground. It is best to place your flowers in an area that will receive indirect sunlight.
A lot of scents and fumes floating through the air inside your home can reduce the lifespan of your cut flower arrangement, including cigarette smoke, paint fumes, and hair spray. Even placing flowers near ripe fruit can take away from how long your flowers look beautiful. They produce high levels of ethylene that disrupt the production of the flowers' own ethylene.
While no one is admiring your bouquet, such as overnight, go ahead and stick them in the refrigerator. Many people put their fruits and vegetables in the fridge to keep them fresher longer and the exact same ripening-stalling process applies to fresh blooms. This is why florists tend to store all of their flowers in large refrigerators when they are not in use.