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How to take care of fresh flowers

Jan 12, 2023

Flowers are very decorative, but they can  also be very costly.

As a kid I grew up around flowers. My mother’s garden was bursting with all kinds of species. Together we would often go to flower nurseries during the spring and purchase plentiful amounts of blossoms. From daffodils, all the way to rose bushes and hydrangeas. Our balcony in Italy was covered in potted plants filled with geraniums. 

Then I was married and living in an apartment that meant the only access to flowers was through bouquets from the shop. But to me those flowers were the equivalent of rotten fruit.  Sure they smelled good, but after a while we had to throw the pungent bouquets away. Nah-uh. Not in my household. I felt like it was wasteful, both of flowers and money.  I loved nature, and I was not about to keep butchering beautiful lifeforms.

It took some years for my husband to understand how much I cared for flowers, but eventually he learned that flowers were not my love language at all. If anything, I ended up getting a bouquet for him only on very rare occasions. To me, flowers were still an expensive luxury and kind of a waste.

Yet I knew how much appreciation I had for nature. And so I decided to do something about my infatuation. I had longed to take a flower class. Counterproductive I’d say, considering I wasn’t even a flower consumer. It took me 13 years, but recently I went back to college and finally made the jump and took a Floral Design Course.

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Floral Design Lab

 

Yes, it changed me. I’d learned more to add to my appreciation for flowers. And I am going to share what I learned from the class as well so that optimistically, if you’re someone like me, who feels the same about flowers you’ll be able to learn to love them and have them in your life as well.

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Tulip Festival 2022

 

 

The biggest eye opener for me was learning that fresh cut flowers can actually last for a very long time. Even months. Flowers don’t jut die because they have been removed from the ground.  Proper care will ensure that. I can teach you proper flower care with 5 tips & tricks.

 

 

  1. Always cut the stem.
Floral Design Lab

Floral Design Lab

 

Right after you buy them, you cut the stems. You need to recut the stems at least once a week. When clipping them you must use actual flower clippers so they don’t break the stem. There is a tiny canal called, the xylem inside of every flower that works like a straw. If the xylem gets blocked, then the flower cannot breathe, and will eventually die. If the stems start to become mushy and have a slimy substance, rinse them under the sink as well and cut out the mushy part. They will cause mold and bacteria to grow inside the container otherwise which will be abosorbed through the xylem and will kill your flowers. 

 

 

2. Always use flower food.

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Floral Vase

 

Flower food not only provides sugar and nutrients, but it’s also a PH balancer for the water and contains germicides to avoid bacteria growing in the water. As simple as that, always make sure your water is fresh, the colder the better, and filled with nutrients for your flowers to eat from. 

 

 

 

3. Change your water. 

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Bridal Bouquet

As long as there is some water the flowers will be fine right? Well, the answer is no. If the water becomes turgid, bacteria will grow and kill the flowers. Turgid water can also contain crumbs that if absorbed by the stem, (compared to a lump of smoothie in a straw), will make it impossible for the flower to absorb and receive water and nutrients. So keep the water fresh and clean. And always remember to use cold water, especially ice cold water. The cooler the temperature the longer your flowers will last and survive.

 

 

 

4. Keep flowers away from fruits, veggies, and windows.

Keep flowers AWAY from windows, fruits, and vegetables. Keep flowers away from windows because the sun will heat up the flowers and they will wilt and die sooner. The buds will open sooner and the heat will kill the flowers. You still need sunlight, just not in hot areas. Flowers do better in fresh cooler environments. After all, they already have fully grown. 

Avoid keeping flowers in your kitchen close to vegetables and fruit, because of the existence of a plant hormone called ethylene. This hormone will make flowers wilt and die sooner. Flowers produce this hormone as well, but when next to produce, (which contain higher levels of it) they will definitely die sooner. 

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Car rides with AC on

 

Lastly, don’t forget to not leave your flowers in a hot car. I know it sounds a little silly, but I have also become guilty of almost giving flowers heat stroke. Especially right after buying them on the ride back from the store to my house. If that is not fully avoidable, often times a great trick is to place them in the fridge for a minimum of 20 minutes, to a few hours once home. And keep up with trimming those end stems.

 

 

5. Strip away foliage.

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Floral Bouquet

Leaves, believe it or not, make the flowers die sooner. Sure they look pretty and are a natural part of the flowers, but they absorb the majority of the nutrients and water making the flowers wilt and die sooner if left on the stem. So when buying a bouquet or making your own composition, strip them all away, right away. You can peel them off or use clippers specifically for thorns. Just make sure not to break the stem and the flowers will be alright. Most florists will just peel away foliage like a banana peel and strip them super fast. It’s not as delicate of a job to do as you might think. 

 

Improving the longevity of flowers is definitely something that has made me love picking and purchasing my own flowers from the store and considering them as a valuable part of my in home decor. Taking care of them on a weekly basis is also something that gives me that indoor garden feel. It’s been the perfect way for me to stay in touch with nature lately. I love plants, but I don’t necessarily love being outside in the dirt and getting dirty. So flowers for me are a good alternative. They make me feel connected to earth and they are the most good smelling, clean, colorful, and mesmerizing of creations from nature to me. I find them extremely calming to look at and also a happy and inviting statement to our home. 

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Flower Wrap

 

Good luck with your flower care,  and I hope these tricks will help you out a ton! And if you can’t quite afford flowers yet like me, it’s ok, there is a stage in life for everything. The day will come. Also, maybe consider going to a nearby Trader Joe’s and only purchasing 3-4 stems from the 1-2 $ dollar section. They will be lower maintenance as well and a good way to ease into this practice. 

 

 

Edited By: Davide Essuman

Serena Essuman

   

Serena Essuman

   
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