5 Ways to Make the Most of Cut Flowers

Keep it Simple and Enjoy Your Flowers More.

Fresh flowers are widely available, from the traditional florist to the outdoor market to the grocery store. Chances are, you’ll pick up a bouquet on impulse or even better, receive one as a gift. What’s the best way to make the most of them?

Keep in mind that the cut flower has been separated from the parent plant and it begins to decompose right away. You’ve probably read magazine articles describing the various types of flower stems and how to treat each one.

Some get cut while others get crushed or singed to a flame. Most of us don’t care to go to that much trouble, but we don’t want the flowers to fade and die too soon, either. Use the following five tips to keep things simple.

  1. Condition the Flowers in the Wrapper

Flowers from a vendor usually come wrapped in tissue or cellophane. This protects the blooms and keeps them from drooping. By the time you get them home, they’ve been out of the water for a while and will appreciate some conditioning.

The best way to rehydrate them and help them keep their upright shape is to put the bouquet, wrapper and all, into a deep bucket of warm water. Submerge them right up to the blooms and leave them for an hour or two. This will refresh them and extend their vase life. For flowers brought in from the garden, wrap in newspaper and do the same thing.

  1. Give Some Thought to Choosing a Vase

You might have several vases on hand to choose from. Think about whether the flowers are tall or heavy or if they lend themselves to being cut short. Maybe you can divide the bouquet into more than one arrangement. What else do you have around the house to put flowers in beside a traditional vase? Bottles, jugs and water pitchers make exciting vessels.

A broken bloom can still be displayed in a shallow dish or china cup and saucer. Egg cups and toothpick holders will hold small snippets that get trimmed from the bunch. A glass container can be slipped inside a decorative tin for a designer touch.

  1. Take a Few Minutes to Trim the Stems

Don’t just take the flowers from the wrapper and plunge them into a vase of water. Egads, nothing looks more stilted than that. Lay out the stems so you can separate them and give each one a new cut. Flower stems are like a drinking straw that draws the water up to the flower, but sometimes it gets an air bubble that keeps the water from traveling up the stem.

To prevent this, draw some water in the sink, remove any leaves that would go down into the container and hold the stem under the water while you make a new slant cut with garden shears. Now you’ll get a water bubble, not an air bubble on the end of the stem while you put it in the vase. Cut each stem in the same manner and arrange your bouquet.

  1. Change the Water Every Couple Days

If your flowers came with a packet of commercial floral preservative and you used it, fine. However, changing the water and re-cutting the stems will do the most to preserve the flowers. Some like to add aspirin or 7-Up or bleach to the water, all of which are attempts to curtail bacteria. Fresh, clean water is still the simplest way to go.

If the arrangement is too complicated to remove from the vase, set it in the sink and flush the vase out with fresh water from the faucet or sprayer. While you’re at it, trim off any dead leaves and spent blooms.

  1. Display the Flowers Where You Will See and Enjoy Them

Flowers are for you to enjoy. They brighten your day. Don’t put them in a spot where you won’t even see them. What good is a floral centerpiece on the dining room table if you don’t usually go in there?

Keep the flowers in the rooms where you live so that they catch your eye many times a day. Take a few blossoms out of the more massive bouquet and put a single bloom or small arrangement by your bed or on your desk.

Keep things simple with these five tips and let flowers work their charm on you.