Happy Valentine’s Day, and the Art of Caring for Flowers

Romantic pink garden roses. Wall art photography print by Karen Alderson 
     Sending belated Happy Valentine’s Day wishes to everyone... in such strange, stressful times, the importance of caring for and about others- and ourselves- has never been more important. I hope you all had a lovely day yesterday ( I think it’s still today in the USA so I’m not entirely late!) 
     In my ‘day job’ as a florist, I get lots of questions about caring for the cut flowers people buy. There’s quite a lot of ideas floating around, so I thought I’d write a little blog post to hopefully help keep your flowers lasting longer if you were lucky enough to receive some for Valentine’s Day or any other occasion. Or, treated yourself! So, without further ado, here’s some tips! 

  * Get your flowers into water as soon as possible- that might sound like a basic thing, but believe me, I’ve learned lots of people don’t think of this! 
  * Remove any leaves that will be below the waterline in your vase. Leaves will decompose quickly and make the water murky and breed bacteria. Not only is that unsightly, but it will shorten the lifespan of your flowers. You wouldn’t want to be drinking dirty water, and neither would your flowers! 
   * If you were gifted with roses and are now thinking to yourself, ‘how am I going to remove the leaves without hurting myself on the thorns?!’ here’s a tip- take an old hand towel or tea towel (preferably a thick one made from terry towelling/terry cloth) and fold it up so you have a nice thick pad to protect your hands, then hold that around the stem as you run your hand down it. Not only will that remove the leaves, it will knock the top off the thorns without damaging the stem itself- which will also shorten the flowers lifespan. 
  * Fill your clean vase/container with room temperature water, and change the water daily if possible. If you have flower food, add that as advised by the manufacturer. If you don’t have flower food, you can add a few drops of bleach to help keep the water clean. I know, you’re thinking ‘bleach?! But that will kill the flowers, surely!’ But I promise, it won’t. Just a few drops though! This helps especially if you have Stock or Kale in the vase. 
  *if you were the lucky recipient of a bouquet or cut flowers, give the stems a fresh, angled cut before you put them straight into the room temperature water-filled vase. In their travels to you, they may have dried out, and will be unable to drink properly from. Roses are especially susceptible to this happening. 

        Romantic pink garden roses wall art photography by Karen Alderson

  *If you were given an arrangement in a vase and are worried about disturbing your beautiful flowers when you are emptying the water and refilling, simply put your vase under the tap and let the water fill the container and overflow until the water is lovely and fresh. 
  *In an ideal world, we would remove the flowers from the water each day and recut the stems on an angle, then refill the container with fresh water containing more flower food or bleach, but in reality, we may not have time for that. But try and do it as often as you can. 
  *Keep your flowers out of direct sunlight and away from air conditioning or heating vents, and place them preferably  in a cool spot. 
  *Orchids  can also drink through their petals, so you can mist them every now and then with a water sprayer. 
  *If disaster strikes and your flowers all of a sudden get droopy and their heads fall, give the stems another angled cut a couple of inches/few centimetres up the stem and place them in hot water- often the sudden droop is caused by air bubbles when the stems have dried out in transit, and hot water can help get rid of these. I know this sounds counter-intuitive but it often works. 
  Well, that’s a few tips that I hope you’ll find helpful and help you enjoy your flowers longer. 

       Romantic pink French lisianthus flowers photography by Karen Alderson

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