Flowers are all-encompassing. Whether it’s a single rose or a bouquet of daisies, these aromatic wonders have infinite uses. As springtime sits just on the horizon and warmer weather gears up for its grand entrance, pushing aside the brisk and seemingly everlasting winter air, flowers will once again bloom outdoors. Richly colored red roses will be replaced with the bountiful blooming of tulips and the sweet smell of geraniums.
In addition to the perennials in the outside garden, keeping freshly cut flowers inside your home is an outstanding way to freshen your space, brighten your mood, and above all, leave no place to forget spring has finally arrived.
Keeping cut flowers isn’t always easy. While they certainly won’t last forever, here are some ways you can keep those blooms flourishing for as long as possible:
Pick Healthy, Quality Flowers
If you are able, opt for flowers from a florist or market with a designated floral section. They may be more money than those at your chain drug store, but it’s likely because they are treated with more care.
For you, this means when they get to your house, they are already in a better starting place than the ones at the pharmacy. Sadly, not all flowers are treated equally. Although they are grown from the same genus of seed, the environment of growth, maturity when harvested, and treatment after harvesting all play a role.
While the source of purchase is not an issue, how the flower is treated in transit to the drug store, what it is treated with, and even what it is stored next to could be.
Remember to rinse the stems of your flowers when you get home and trim about one inch off the bottom. All other leaves on the stems should be removed. The base of the stem will dry up quickly after harvesting, so could be dead by the time you get them home. By trimming the dead portion off, the flowers are able to absorb nutrients and fresh water through a fully-functioning stem membrane.
Don’t skip that little green package in the bouquet! Most of us just toss it aside like an extra soy sauce package with a take-out order, but the store is actually doing you a solid with this one. Flower food helps provide essential nutrients to your bouquet tap water will not, mimicking a natural habitat for the flowers. In turn, this extends the life of your bouquet and ups its vivacious appearance.
If you’re a frequent flower-buyer, you may also consider buying flower food in bulk like this one.
Avoid Direct Light, Drafts, and Artificial Heat
Like humans, most flowers cannot be in direct sunlight all the time. Although they won’t instantly deplete, too much sun can shorten the lifespan of cut flowers. To avoid this, place your flowers in a room with natural light, but not directly in a window.
Be sure to avoid any drafty areas or areas in the direct path of heat or air conditioning.
Refrigerate and Ice
Florists keep flowers in a see-through refrigerator for a reason! Cooler temperatures (not cold) keep flowers fresher for longer, much like produce.
Although they won’t do much good for your home spending their whole day in the fridge, consider placing the entire arrangement in the refrigerator at night to extend their lifespan. Remove them each morning and arrange as desired.
If refrigeration is not possible, add a handful of ice to your bouquet each day. The slowly melting ice will provide cool water that will keep your blooms fresh.
The oldest trick in the book may have some science behind it. Copper is outstanding at thwarting fungi that may grow in water short term. Place a few copper pennies at the bottom of the vase to keep your arrangement the best it can be. Please note, pennies minted before 1982 were almost entirely copper while those after ‘82 switched to zinc with a copper coating. While the latter may still help, the small amount of copper will not produce as impressive results. If you can, try saving a handful of older, all-copper pennies for your vases!