Who doesn’t love receiving a bouquet of sweet-smelling flowers? A fresh bouquet can elevate your mood, add color to your home, and spruce up your living space. And with Valentine’s Day right around the corner, fresh flowers usually represent love, friendship, and gratitude.
While beautiful, cut flowers unfortunately don’t last forever. They wither and wilt within just a few days. Because they don’t have a long life, nor are they always harvested sustainably, buying a bouquet actually isn’t great for the environment. Flower bouquets—especially rose bouquets—come with a high transportation footprint and water footprint. Not to mention, most of the flowers we purchase are grown using chemical fertilizers or pesticides.
However, to decrease the footprint of your bouquet, check the label. Many bouquets come with a Fair Trade label, ensuring the flowers were produced and harvested ethically and sustainably. Plus, you can even harvest flowers in your home garden and make your own centerpiece bouquet!
Whether you’re looking to give a special someone a bouquet, or you’re expecting a big bouquet yourself, here’s how to keep flowers fresh like a pro.
How to Keep Flowers Fresh: 9 Tips That Work
1. Cut the Stems at an Angle
The first thing to do when you get a fresh bouquet is cut the bottom of the stems at an angle. Cutting the stems at a 45-degree angle increases water intake, which prevents your flowers from getting dried up or droopy.
Be sure to use clean scissors or pruning shears. As soon as you cut the stems, submerge them in a vase of water to avoid air from getting trapped in the stems. And the best part? The stems you cut off are compostable and don’t need to go in the trash!
2. Use a Clean Vase and Cold Water
Before filling your vessel with water, make sure it’s clean. That means washing it with warm water and soap to prevent bacteria build-up.
However, one pro tip: You can also use warm or boiling water to revive wilted flowers. The hot water gets absorbed faster, saving the flower’s life. Warm water can also be used for bulbs that haven’t bloomed yet.
3. Trim Excess Leaves or Petals
If some leaves or petals are too low on the stem, they may be submerged in water. And when this happens, there’s an increased chance of bacteria in the water. To avoid this, trim any foliage that may be submerged under the water.
Also, be sure to trim already-wilted blossoms or brown leaves to avoid contamination—and add them to your compost bin.
4. Use a Wider Vase
If your vase has a narrow opening, the stems and flowers will get squished together. Flowers need space to breathe and an adequate amount of water, so if you have a larger bouquet, opt for a larger vessel.
If you don’t have a larger vessel, there’s no need to buy anything new. Instead, simply separate the bouquet and use more than one vase! You can then display your beautiful flowers in multiple rooms.
5. Avoid Direct Sunlight
While the flowers in your garden need sunlight to grow, the flowers in your vase do not. The warmth from the sun will actually make your flowers wilt faster!
Instead, keep your flowers in a cool space away from sunny windows, heaters, or kitchen appliances that could emit heat.
6. Change the Water
You may have noticed the water in your vase gets murky. To avoid bacteria build-up, change the water every two days or as needed. And when you do this, re-clean the vase!
Changing the water not only prevents bacteria growth but also avoids the rotten odor that could come with wilting flowers and dirty water.
7. Keep Away from Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables emit ethylene, a plant hormone, as they ripen. And the more ethylene produced, the faster the fruits and veggies will ripen. The same goes for flowers.
Exposure to ethylene will increase the rate at which flowers wilt and die. So one of the easiest ways you can keep flowers fresh for longer? Keep your bouquet away from the fruit bowl!
8. Make Homemade Flower Food
Flower food contains citric acid and sugar. Your floral arrangement may have come with a pre-made packet of flower food, but you can make your own.
To make flower food, add 2 tablespoons of lemon or lime juice and 1 tablespoon of sugar to a quart of water. Another way to make flower food is to add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar and two tablespoons of sugar to a quart of water.
You can add more flower food every two days when you’re changing the water.
9. Refrigerate the Bouquet
Most florists keep flowers in refrigerators to keep them fresh, and you can too! But this may be tricky depending on the size of your bouquet and what’s in your fridge.
If you don’t have any fruits or veggies in the fridge, keep your flowers in there overnight so you can enjoy them during the day. This will keep your flowers healthy and beautiful!
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