Looking after fresh flowers

By Elena Price

A bouquet of fresh, cut flowers makes a beautiful gift for a friend or relative, and is also the perfect thing to buy in order to treat yourself. If you buy cut flowers, you will want to make sure that they last as long as possible, so we’ve put together some hints and top banana tips to help you to do this.

We found this excellent video about looking after fresh flowers and have listed the key points in proper English (less excitable than the video) below:

WordPress.com Fail – can’t embed – follow the link – meanwhile here’s a lovely image.


Cool and cut your flowers

If you aren’t able to arrange your flowers immediately when they arrive, make sure that you keep them in a cool place until you can. The first step is to remove the flowers from their packaging. Some experts recommend that you then place them into cold water for a while before cutting and arranging them.

You should then use a sharp knife or a pair of scissors to cut about two to three centimetres, at an angle of about 45 degrees, from the bottom of the stem of each flower. If your flowers are tied in a bouquet, you can leave them tied up whilst you do this, so that it’s quick to do and the arrangement retains its shape. Some experts recommend keeping the stems underwater whilst cutting the ends off of them, as they believe that this prevents air from entering the stems, meaning that the flowers can take in water more effectively when you arrange them in the vase.

Choose your vase and arrange your flowers

Make sure that the vase that you are planning to put your flowers in is clean, as the presence of bacteria may have a negative effect on your flowers, meaning that they won’t last as long. Fill the vase with fresh, room temperature water until it is about three-quarters full and remove any leaves which are likely to be below the waterline. This is important because leaves in the water will die and produce bacteria which will affect the flowers. If there is a sachet of flower food with your flowers, empty this into the water, before placing your flowers in the vase and arranging them.

Find the perfect place to put your flowers

Place your flowers somewhere light, but not in direct sunlight as this may cause them to wilt. It’s also important to make sure that they are placed in a room which is the correct temperature for them (about 18 -22°C). Don’t put them next to a direct heat source, such as a radiator, or near to any other appliances that give off heat, such as televisions or computers. You should also make sure that you don’t place them directly in a draft, or near a fan or air conditioning unit.

If you are placing your vase of flowers on a table or work-top, make sure that you don’t put it next to ripening fruit. As fruit ripens, it emits a gas called ethylene, which ages flowers more quickly. You should also try to place your flowers somewhere away from cigarette smoke, as this also contains ethylene.

Look after your flowers

In order to keep your flowers looking beautiful for as long as possible, make sure that you change the water every other day, and remove any dead flowers and any leaves from the water when you see them. Your flowers will also last longer if you recut the stems every three or four days, and you can freshen them up by spraying them gently with water.

If you follow these simple guidelines, your cut flowers should last longer. You can buy cut flowers from florists and markets, or order them online and have them delivered directly to your door or to a friend or family member’s home.