When you open your freshly made bouquet of flowers from your local florist there should be a tiny package of white powder (flower preservative), this is a mix of acidifier, biocide, and sugar. Many old wives tales have said you can use bleach, lemon juice, and even white vinegar as a substitute to flower preservative….but for the love of god please don’t! You will kill your flowers! However in a pinch you can use 7-up or sprite as a last resource for your flowers but only use 1/3 of a cup and make sure to stir or shake all the bubbles out of it!
You may be wondering why include the flower preservative then if we can just use the already open can of sprite we were drinking. Thing is, it won’t last as long as using flower preservative, because the flower food has a chemical in it that kills any harmful bacteria, while at the same time allowing the stems pores to open and absorb more of the sugar that gives the flower the nutrients it needs to stay pretty and fresh!
When you buy flowers from a florist they are already pre tied into what the florist thought was the best way to show off your flowers, so you should leave the string that is tied around the bouquet intact. But if you feel like you need to rearrange the flowers differently cut the string and rearrange in the vase. When determining where to cut the stems of your flowers, look at how much water you have in your vase and where the flowers are tied together. This is important because you’ll need to cut your flower stems to the length where the tied part (or binding point) is not sitting in water. This is because all leaves will be removed below that binding point and having any kind of leaf in the water increases the bacteria levels in your water causing your flowers to die faster. If your flower stems are at the pefect height it’s highly recommended that you recut the flower stems to give them a new clean surface to absorb the water.
Once you’ve decided where you are going to cut your flowers stems, use a sharp paring knife or a swiss army knife to cut through the stems on a slight angle to allow for a clean easy cut and more surface space to absorb water from. When positioning your hands you want to use your right hand to hold your knife and your left hand to hold the flower stem/bouquet. Using your right hand to hold the knife blade towards you with only your fingers, while positioning your thumb paraell to the knife blade. See pictures below.
Follow these simple steps and you should get the 5-6 days out of your flowers that your florist says they will last (5-6 days will vary on the kind of flower and the current season).
In the 3-4 days, be sure to recut the stems on your flowers, clean your vase, and refill the water and you should have beautiful flowers! Thank you so much for reading if you need any additional clarification check out the video below by Jess McEwen of Periwinkle flowers in Toronto, ON. That’s all for this week, check back next Friday when I talk about things you’ll need to consider when ordering flowers for an event! And remember…support your local florist!