It’s the first week of May! We’ve made it through the winter and are here to reap the rewards of buds, blooms and blossoms. However, like most good things, flowers do not last forever. Nothing is more frustrating than getting a great-looking bouquet, putting it in a vase and waking up the next morning to what I call “droopers,” or sad and wilted blooms.
For a while I thought these droopers were a consequence of choosing bad flower sources. Granted, my mother had given me certain tips about flower arrangements–like cutting the stems at an angle and changing the water every few days–but I had brushed off her advice and settled for the “as long as you put them in water right away, they’ll be fine” approach.
- Choose flowers that are almost but not fully mature, as this will ensure a longer life once the blooms are cut.
- Holding the stems underwater, cut about 2 inches off with a sharp knife. Cutting the stems underwater seals the stem with water and prevents air from clogging the stem cells.
- Cut stems diagonally to prevent them from resting flat on the bottom of the container. Avoid cutting right through a leaf node, the point on a stem at which a leaf or leaves are inserted. Try to cut between nodes and joints.
- If using floral foam, make sure it is saturated with water.
- Use a clean vase with fresh warm water to hold the cut flowers. Mix a floral preservative into the water before arranging flowers in the vase. No foliage should be below the waterline in the vase.
- Keep flowers away from excessive heat or cold, direct sunlight or drafts, which will increase transpiration or wilting.
- Refresh the water every 2 days to 3 days.
- If flowers develop a bent neck, this is probably due to an air lock in the stem, which makes them unable to properly absorb water. To correct this, recut the stems under water and place them in cool water for a couple of hours before returning them to the arrangement.