"Even the prettiest flower will die one day. It's natures way of teaching us that nothing lasts forever."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Though there's a plethora of information that exists on how to care for cut flowers, here we will briefly highlight some essential factors. Our bouquets typically last a week in the vase. The following general guidelines will address the needs of the majority of your flowers.
Once the flower is separated from the plant and its sustaining root system, it now relies on water that you provide. The number one enemy of cut flowers is bacteria, which can come from a dirty vase or snips, and fungi that can block their stems from drawing up enough water or that cause the stems to break down.
Make sure your vase is clean and that it holds enough water for the bouquet you're caring for. Change the water every two days or any time it becomes cloudy. Some flowers drink more water than others and may just need to be topped off. While the pH level can impact cut flower longevity, the tap water in our geographic area is usually fine. Chlorine in our water is actually a benefit as it can kill unwanted bacteria. There are some flowers that do not do as well with fluoride, but those are rare. Slightly acidic water pH is the best for cuts.
Always make sure the vase is washed with hot, soapy water. If the vase is in a really sad state to begin with, wash it in a dishwasher or use a bit of bleach or hydrogen peroxide to disinfect it. Never use a metal container for a vase without a liner to hold the flowers. Some crystal vases deposit lead in the water, causing early breakdown of the plant material.
Whenever you change the water, re-cut the stem bottoms at a 45 degree angle to provide maximum surface area for water to be drawn up. Make sure your scissors or knife are clean and sharp. A dull utensil will squeeze the stem bottom and restrict water from entering. Flowers that are taken out of water can easily develop air bubbles at the end of their stems, which may block the water from being absorbed and can cause some cuts to wilt earlier than others. If this seems to be the case, re-cut the stem ends. If the stems are slimy, gently wash them under water.
Always make sure that any foliage below the water line is stripped. As you re-cut stems, remove any leaves that would be submerged in water, as foliage that is left will quickly break down and form bacteria and fungi, which will cloud the vase water. The breakdown of plant matter releases ethylene, an invisible non-toxic gas also produced by ripening vegetables like apples and bananas, which can cause cut flowers to deteriorate faster than usual.
Keep the vase away from direct sunlight or heat, which will shorten flower life.
If you have a flower food packet, use it. The packets are comprised of sugar ( food ), an acidifier ( maintains water pH ) and a biocide ( controls bacteria ). One packet of floral food is usually good enough for a quart of water.
Enjoy your beautiful bouquet!
The flowers you receive from Detroit Abloom are grown from seed and nurtured and harvested at the correct stage to provide as long a vase life as possible with proper care. Our flowers are conditioned after harvesting, which means they are left to rest for a few hours in a spot where they can re-hydrate before we make our bouquets or arrangements. We're meticulous about cleanliness because we want you to have a good experience enjoying our flowers.
The great detail and science behind flower care is quite fascinating, a topic we will go into more detail about on our upcoming blog.