Caring for Your Cut Flowers – How to Make them Last

The Journey Home

If you received them at work and you need to take them home here are some things you can do to help keep them nice and fresh (a trick my Nana taught me):

  • Get some paper handtowels or tissue paper and make it very wet, wrap it around the bottoms of the flower stems
  • Get some plastic or a plastic baggie and use a rubber band or string to seal off the bottom to avoid spillage
  • Keep the flowers slightly upright if possible on the way home and keep them out of direct sunlight and heat vents

When You Get Home

  • Make sure the vase is super clean – old residue can make the bacteria grow faster and reduce the new flowers life span
  • Add the food if the flowers come with it (half the packet for small vases)
  • If the flowers are closed and you want them to open quickly, make the water lukewarm to the touch
  • Add two drops of bleach, this slows down bacteria growth without giving off a bleach smell
  • Cut a minimum of one inch off the ends of the flowers at a slight angle – this makes sure the flower can soak up the water and food easily
  • Strip off any leaves that are likely to be under the water level as these tend to rot in the water quicker
  • If you want to, every 3 days or so cut a little off the ends of the flowers and change the water

Now you are ready to arrange your flowers in the vase

Arranging Flowers

The best flower arrangements are naturally and mathematically arranged. Follow these basic rules to see what I mean by that:

  • Choose where the flowers will be displayed (away from direct sunlight and heat sources) – will they be viewed from the front or from all directions? For the purposes of this example, we’ll choose the centre of a table so the flowers will be viewed from all sides.
  • Place the shortest flowers in first, and arrange the flowers so that they are equally spaced, make sure that there is an even spread of colour from all views
  • Next choose the medium height flowers and arrange evenly towards the middle
  • The tallest flowers are then placed evenly in the middle with the tallest of them in the centre
  • The natural part is where you nudge them around a bit until they look “right” to your eye – some shorter ones will sit next to medium ones, and medium ones next to tall ones, etc. Your flair or eye for detail will make the arrangement yours.
  • Don’t forget, you get to choose the height of each flower! Don’t be afraid to experiment.

The human eye is drawn by inconsistencies and we appreciate symmetry. Nature creates its own symmetry. Have a look at a hedge row or meadow and you will see tall, medium and short arrange themselves naturally, following the light, finding space and often using each other as support. The trick to successful flower arranging is to emulate this process.

Drying flowers

Roses are perfect for drying, enjoy them for a couple of days as cut flowers and before they begin to wilt hang them upside down in the hot-press or any other warm, dry, dark spot in the house. The drying process will take about a week or so.

Red and pink work well, but yellow and white don’t usually look great dried out. A very strong colour will usually translate well.

Other Uses for Rose Petals

My mother has huge pink roses in the back garden. When they open up and are about to drop off, she collects the petals and fills the empty fireplace with them, the smell is lovely for a day or two and they look pretty too.

If your roses have a strong rose smell and dark colour, collect the petals before they are due to fall off and place them in a bowl in your airing cupboard or on your bedroom radiator.

To make a rose petal keepsake, take a fresh rose petal and place it between the pages of a book or diary, place the diary under a pile of heavy books and leave for a few weeks. If you do this with lots of petals, you can create your own greeting cards using them as decorations.

Happy Valentine’s Day!!


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