Rooms in Bloom: Kate's Tips to Make Your Fresh Cut Flowers Last Longer

Deconstructing a Store Bought Bouquet into Rooms of Bloom

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Fresh Cut Flowers:  Nature’s Stress Releasers

This week, treat yourself to some fresh cut flowers!   Nothing perks up a room like flowers in bloom.   More importantly, our brains are pretty much hardwired to automatically relax in the presence of flowers.   Flowers, especially fragrant ones, are nature’s stress relievers!

Rooms in Bloom

No need to blow your budget to do it.   A $25 bouquet of fresh cut flowers, often purchased at the grocery store, should provide you with five to seven rooms worth of bloom.   An even bigger benefit, most budget bouquets are usually composed of flowers that are long-lasting…especially if you know just a few tips and tricks to make them last.

Floral Conditioning:  Make ‘em Last!

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Techniques to make flowers last longer are referred to as the Conditioning step of flower arranging.   Instead of plopping your flowers into the vase as pre-arranged by the shop, take just a few extra rather pleasurable minutes to ensure that your cut flowers endure days longer.

Water Temperature for Fresh Cut Flowers

Place your fresh flowers into lukewarm water as soon as possible after arrival. Leave the flowers in a bucket of lukewarm water for an hour or so prior to arranging to allow them to straighten up.   This is called "soldiering up" the stems.   A lukewarm water temperature absorbs more quickly.

Clean, Proper Flower Arranging Tools

Make certain that your floral bucket, floral shears or knife and the vase chosen for flower arranging have been rinsed with bleach.   Remember bacteria kills flowers.   Clean tools and vessels make a huge difference to floral longevity.    Believe it or not, denture cleanser has proven to be our most effective vase cleansers at the shop.   Denture cleanser can even get rid of stubborn lines.   We use two other cleansers at the shop.   One is called C is for Clean and the other is called Universal Stone.   Between these two green cleaners, we can pretty much clean anything.     

Regular scissors crush the stems so treat yourself to a decent pair of Floral Shears or Knife reserved only for flower arranging.

The Slanted Cut

Always cut the base of the stem with a sharply-slanted cut.   The slanted cut ensures that additional stem is exposed so that the flower drinks up even more water.   Trim the stem at least one inch to remove the scab that inhibits water flow.  If possible, it is best to cut the stems underwater to prevent air bubbles…especially with roses and tulips.

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“Jacketing” your Fresh Cut Flowers   

“Jacket” your flowers, particularly roses.  “Jacketing” means removing any of the outer petals that become damaged or bruised in travel.  Even local, seasonal flowers bruise in shipment.  If they have come all the way from Holland, Israel or Central America,  just imagine how all that jostling will damage tender petals.  Removing just a few outer petals uncovers the perfection within.

Removing Excess Leaves

Remove all leaves that will remain below the water line in the vase. Excess leaves just steal the nutrients and water needed for the actual flower.   Remove any leaves that will not add to your arrangement.   For instance, those large leaves just under the heads of sunflowers wick away hydration from the bloom that you want to show off.   Also remove excess buds that are unlikely to bloom within a week or anything that is broken, browning or wilted.

Floral Food:  Use it or Lose It

Always use those tiny packages of floral food.   Those tiny packets are basically the chemical equivalent of bleach and sugar need to keep the water clean and the flowers fed!  

Recut the Stems Every Two Days

Last but not least, be sure to tend to you fresh cuts every few days.   Every two to three days, recut the bottom of the stems and replace your lukewarm water with fresh floral food too.   Shortening the stems every couple of days decreases the height of your arrangement.  Not a problem as it gives you an opportunity to change up your look too.  


See our photo to see how we used a $25 bouquet to get enough flowers for seven rooms:

The lit look using a Water Lite and Foliage for the Mantel

The Twined Vase with the single lily for a Shelf for the Family Room 

The Kitchen Counter Arrangement with the bright yellow mums and the Molca Floater Candle. 

The Sunflower centrepiece for the Dining Room Table. 

Three small frosted vases to use in the powder room and guest bedroom. 

The low bowl using the remaining scraps to float flowers and Molca Floater Candles.