Flower Bouquet Care

You brought home your beautiful bouquet–now what? Let’s discuss! 

Flowers need a clean vase. If you wouldn’t drink out of it, then don’t let your flowers, either. Another thing to note–dark colored vases or painted ceramic vases will actually help your flowers last longer. These will not allow sunlight to get to the stems, which will in turn make the stems decay faster.

Once you are home, remove all leaves that will be below the water line, because the leaves will contaminate the water. Trim half an inch off the stems (with clean scissors!) and immediately place the flowers in clean water with the packet of flower food you received. You don’t need to use the whole packet of flower food–save some for water changes.

You can of course do some arranging, which is definitely recommended! Rarely does a wrapped bouquet look fantastic just plopped into the vase. Some stems might need to be cut shorter, and some flowers might need to be rearranged to make the flowers look their best! 

Some say that flowers drink warm water better than cold. You will want to re-cut the stems about half an inch every day. Always immediately place back into water after trimming. When you do this, make sure to put fresh water into the vase, and possibly even change the vase or wash the one it is in. Dirty water introduces bacteria into the stems and causes them to deteriorate faster. You can also add more flower food when you cut the stems and change the water.

A couple notes about flower food:

  • If your bouquet has zinnias, they do not like flower food. You can use 1 tsp. bleach per quart of water to help zinnias last longer as an alternative.
  • If you didn’t end up with a packet of flower food (either I was out or forgot to staple it to the paper), you can easily make your own at home. 1 quart water, 1 teaspoon bleach, 1 teaspoon vinegar, and 1 tablespoon sugar. The sugar is the food for the flowers, and the bleach and vinegar will help to slow fungi and bacteria growth.

Keep your flowers out of direct sunlight and away from heat. Cool, shady spots are always best! 

Keep your flowers away from ripening fruit. The fruit produces high levels of ethylene, which influences the production of ethylene in the flowers. This gas causes more rapid ageing of flowers and leaves.

As the bouquet ages, remove the flowers that are not looking good. When I do this, by the end of about 10 days, the bouquet has been purged of the dying bits, but I still have a lovely little bouquet. It just gets smaller over time. Rather than toss the entire thing as some of the flowers age, just remove the spent blooms when performing the daily trimming of the stems and changing the water. And always make sure to remove the leaves that fall below the water line. 

Couple quick notes:

  • Dahlias are so beautiful, as we all know. They do not have a long vase life. 3-5 days is average, depending on form. That doesn’t seem to deter people from wanting them. I think they are worth it! 
  • Zinnias are considered a “dirty” flower, meaning they get the water dirty quickly and can cause your other flowers to age quicker. This can be combated by changing the water daily (and cutting stems) and adding the bleach mentioned above to each water change. 

I hope these tips help you have the longest vase life for your flowers! 

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