There are so many gorgeous flowers around at this time of the year, so now is your chance to fill your home with blooms. Before you rush out in to the garden with the secateurs, read these tips from some of the best florists around to make cut flowers last just that bit longer.
1. Buy seasonally "Always the key to getting the best from your flowers, if you buy seasonally they’ll look better, last longer and you’ll also get the best value for your money. If you aren’t sure what to pick, your florist will be able to advise you on the latest seasonal flowers." Nikki Tibbles, Wild at Heart
2. Act fast As soon as you get home, trim stems with a 45-degree angle clean cut, remove any foliage that will sit below the waterline and and place in cool water (and in a cool place) until you are ready to arrange them.
3. Clean your vases "Use a clean vase, because the worst enemy of fresh flowers is bacteria." One tip we love from huffingtonpost.co.uk was to wash the inside of regularly used vases with hot water a teaspoon of baking powder and white vinegar (though others recommend a drop of bleach).
4. Prevent bacteria build up Designer gardening website gardenista.com did a test of some of the most common tips that are shared around to keep bacteria at bay and prolong the life of cut flowers. They compared bunches of dahlias to see what happened to them over 5 days when they used just fresh water vs when they added the following:
- Vinegar & sugar mixture (the common wisdom is that vinegar will mitigate bacteria, and sugar will act as food)
- Conventional flower food
- Bleach (the idea is that a teaspoonful will kill bacteria)
- Aspirin (to increase the acidity of the water)
- A penny (The copper allegedly acts as an antibacterial agent)
Having repeated the experiment a few times they came to the conclusion that the worst idea was the aspirin one (which turned the stems grey) and that the rest were pretty much equal. They decided that so long as you start with a very clean vase, the best bet might be to stick with fresh water but to make sure you change the water regularly to keep bacteria at bay.
5. Keep things cool Keep flowers out of direct sunlight; the cooler and darker the room, the longer your flowers will last. Be wary of putting them too close to other heat sources (even things like electrical goods) as this will speed up the loss of moisture and shorten their life.
6. Embrace the change The whole beauty of flowers is that they change over time, that's why we love them so much. So while no-one wants them to wilt within hours, it makes sense to embrace the fact they will change over a few days. If you've picked different flower types and arranged them together then some will have a longer natural vase life than others. Check them every day or two and give them a couple of minutes of pampering to rearrange, pick out anything that has gone past its sell by date and change the water. Cut the stems shorter and change to a different vase as the shapes naturally evolve. If you are willing to do this you should have something floral and lovely to last the week. Enjoy those Summer blooms everyone.