Flowers: How to Lengthen the Life of Your Arrangement

A little extra care can make a big difference for any size flower arrangement or fresh flower bouquet. Most floral arrangements last 4-7 days or longer, depending on the flowers used and the care they receive. The Society of American Florists provides these tips for longer-lasting, more vibrant flowers: For floral arrangements: Keep the vase filled (or floral foam soaked) with water containing a flower food provided by your florist. Flower foods make flowers last longer but it is important to follow the mixing directions on the flower food packet. Most packets are to be mixed with either a pint or a quart of water. Flower foods should not be diluted with more water than is specified on the packet. If the flower food solution becomes cloudy, replace it entirely with properly mixed flower food solution. If possible, re-cut stems by removing one to two inches with a sharp knife. Be sure to use a sharp knife or clippers that will not crush the stems. Immediately place the stems into solution. Keep flowers in a cool spot (65 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit), away from direct sunlight, heating or cooling vents, directly under ceiling fans, or on top of televisions or radiators. (Appliances like televisions give off heat, which causes flowers to dehydrate.) Most flowers will last longer under cool conditions.

For loose bunches or cut flowers:

  • Keep your flowers in a cool place until you can get them in a flower food solution. Don't forget how important it is to follow the mixing directions on the flower food packet.
  • Fill a clean (washed with a detergent or antibacterial cleaning solution), deep vase with water and add a flower food from your florist.
  • Remove leaves that will be below the waterline. Leaves in water will promote bacterial microbial growth that may limit water uptake by the flower.
  • Re-cut stems by removing one to two inches with a sharp knife. Place the flowers in the vase solution you've prepared.
  • If you purchase loose flowers for your own arrangements you should also consider these tips:
  • When selecting flowers, look for flowers with upright, firm petals and buds beginning to open. Yellow, spotted or drooping leaves are signs of age.
  • When using woody stems and branches (such as quince, forsythia or lilac), cut the stem with sharp pruning shears. Place them in warm water containing fresh flower food to promote flower opening.

Body Flowers (Corsages)
Wearing flowers for daytime or evening occasions is both fashionable and fun. Body flowers (corsages) can be worn on the wrist or in the hair. Wear them on a collar, on the waist or on the shoulder. Wear them on a purse. But remember, always wear them the way the flowers grow: blossoms up, stems down. Guard your flowers carefully against sudden exposures to cold air. In very cold weather, carry your body flowers in a box. Put them on after you arrive for the festivities. And, remember, too much handling bruises delicate petals and stems. To keep your Body Flowers fresh and bright for a second day, cover with wet cotton or a thin wet cloth; refrigerate in the florists box. (Orchids are the exception. Unwind the stem wrapping and place the orchid stem in water. Keep in a cool place, out of drafts, but not in the refrigerator.) Let us style your Body Flowers in the newest fashion trends ... in colours and designs that accentuate your clothing and the occasion.

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