Hello fellow flower nerds! It’s Mira and over the past few years working for florists and then starting my own florist business I’ve learned a few tricks of the trade that I want to share with you. Note that most of these tips are for flowers that haven’t been treated with chemicals to last longer (like the flowers you might get from Target or Walmart). You should also check back on this list every once in a while because I will be updating it as I learn!
First off, here’s the cheat sheet of tips. Read the rest of my post for more details and a few more tricks!
Don’t leave your flowers in the sunlight or somewhere that regularly gets warm (like next to an oven).
Change out the water every day to every other day.
Cut the stems every 3rd day. I usually do about ½ - 1 inch.
Flower food can work wonders but can also harm the flowers if you use more than suggested on the package.
Always make sure your flowers are in water.
Let’s talk about the differences between flowers you might get seasonally from a farmer or local florist like me.
Spring cut flowers are very sensitive to warmth! This might seem obvious, but if you leave spring flowers in a warm car or in direct sunlight they are going to “blow open” which diminishes their life span. An interesting tip I learned from my grandmother is to put your flowers in the fridge at night to extend their life. She was able to get a spring bouquet to last nearly four weeks doing this! It makes perfect sense since I put the flowers in a cooler before I bring them to you but I hadn’t thought of it in that context! Be aware though that this trick only works for flowers that can handle the low temperatures of the fridge. Some summer and fall flowers like zinnias can’t handle it and will turn brown. Always ask your florist if you have any “special needs” flowers in your bouquet!
Out of all the flowers, ones grown in the summer tend to be the most resilient overall. Even if treated badly (left in the sun, somewhere warm or left without water for small periods of time) they will still last you at least a week. If treated well, I’ve had flowers like lisianthus last nearly three weeks! For greenery I love using herbs in my summer bouquets for their fragrance as well as long vase life. Fun note; if one of your herbs starts to put out roots while in a vase then you can plant it in your garden! See if you can get a root growth hormone from your local garden center for anyone who hasn’t transplanted cuttings before. Beware though! If you plant mint then make sure it’s contained in a pot because it is invasive!
Flowers and greenery in the fall are a bit of a tossup. You get some that are resilient like in summer, but then you get delicate ones just like spring. Dahlias are a great example of simply gorgeous flowers that usually last five days at best. On the other hand, you start seeing a lot of pods, grasses, and fruits that last forever! Recently I read an article saying that you can significantly increase the life of dahlias by putting them in commercial holding solutions (flower food) but I have yet to test this out for myself. I’ll update you this fall! Another trick I like is to take any longer-lasting flower or greenery from one bouquet and add it to a new bouquet. Just be aware that any bacteria from dirty water will stick to the stems and potentially shorten the life of any new flowers. Make sure you only combine clean flowers!
Make sure you clean your vase before using and change the water daily or at least every other day. Bacteria is a cut flower’s worst enemy! Also be wary of your flowers running out of water, even a little time out of water can drastically change their lifespan. An interesting side note; this actually matters less with flowers you get from most florist or chain stores since all of those flowers have been treated to be drought-tolerant for shipping. Farm grown flowers (like I provide) however, haven’t been treated and so are more delicate.
Unless instructed otherwise, it’s also a good idea to cut the stems of your flowers every three days. This helps get rid of any blocked capillaries but beware! Some flowers (like daffodils) are poisonous to other flowers when cut and should not be put back into a vase within 24hrs of being cut. There’s actually a way to tell if the flower or greenery you just cut will be poisonous to other flowers! If it has a milky white or gelatinous sap then odds are it needs to sit alone for 24hrs.
Did you know that many flowers I commonly use are edible? Bachelor Buttons, Chamomile, Roses, and of course all the herbs to name a few. I wouldn’t eat them though unless you’ve asked me if any flower food was used! Most commercial flower foods have a mix of sugar and acid or bleach and you never know what has made it into the flower itself. I tend to stay away from flower food mostly for convenience’s sake since many flowers and greenery don’t do well with it and I don’t always have time to test. I know a couple of my growers do use flower food or at least a weak bleach solution to keep bacteria from growing but, like me, sometimes they don’t for one reason or another. So, while I may tell you a flower is edible, ask first before taking a munch!