Cut Flower Care

Fresh flowers are so easy to care for when you have the know how, ensuring that you get the best value and vase-life from every bloom.

Here at The Poundbury Florist we fully condition all our blooms before they leave the shop, but they still need the right TLC when you get them home to ensure that they fulfill their true potential.

Here are the main pointers to follow:

  • Always make sure that your vase is fully cleaned before putting flowers in it. Any bacterial-residue will shorten the vase life of your flowers.
  • Fill the vase half full with warm water, add the flower-food sachet provided with your flowers and stir well to dissolve.
  • Add cold water to fill the vase and to lower the water temperature to cool.
  • Now you are ready to put your flowers into the vase:

If your flowers are just 'loose' (i.e. - not tied into a spiralled-stemmed bouquet)

  • Simply remove the outer wrapping.
  • Your flowers should already be fully-conditioned, but always ensure that any foliage that will be below the water-line is removed now.

If your bouquet is hand-tied

  • You will need to remove the bow and wrapping but leave the inner string/tape intact so that the design remains as the stylist intended.

If your bouquet is aqua-packed (with a water bubble around the bottom of the stems)

  • Make a slash in the bubble OVER THE SINK to drain all the water before removing the aqua-frame and wrapping, but leaving the inner string/tape intact.

Most Important for your flower care

  • You MUST cut at least 1 inch from every stem before you place your bouquet/arrange your loose flowers in the vase. Essentially, you are cutting off the air-bubble that has formed in the bottom of the stem whilst the flowers have been out of water.
  • You need to work quickly, as the stems - particularly woody ones, such as roses - seal over again very quickly, forming another air-bubble at the bottom of the stem as quickly as 20 seconds.
  • So cut the stems (at an angle, using a sharp pair of scissors/secateurs) swiftly and as soon as they are cut, place them into the vase.

Do not

  • Do not ever bash the flower stems; this is an old-wives tale and not recommended, as it destroys the vascular stem-structure.

For optimum vase life

The flowers in your bouquet may be different lengths, and so take a look into the vase and - if necessary - grab a jug and top the water up to ensure that any shorter stems are reaching the water. Ideally the water should come up to the tying point of a hand-tied bouquet.

For optimum vase life, you should change the water in the vase every 2-3 days. You will not need to use flower-food every time (although it won't hurt to do so), but you MUST cut another inch off the stems each time you place the flowers back into the water.

Your flowers will be happiest in a cool, draught-free spot. Ideally flowers will last longest if kept between 5-8 degrees C; obviously this is not usually possible in a centrally-heated house, but make sure that you do not place your flowers on/above a radiator or by a fire. Perhaps choose the coolest room in your house to display your flowers, or move your flowers to a cool spot such as a utility or garage at night in order to prolong their flowering; just make sure that they do not drop to frost temperature as this will kill them very swiftly.

Flower specific care tips

There are many different types of flower, and some require different care.

Here are a few flower-specific tips and factoids:

  • Furry-stemmed flowers such as gerberas, ranunculus or anemones last longest in a half-full vase as this reduces the humidity in the vase which can cause the damp to climb up the hairy stem and rot the flower (do not however make the water so short that any other flowers in the bouquet cannot reach the water).
  • Calla/arum lilies have very soft stems and ideally like to be kept in just 1-2 inches of water.
  • Woody stems such as roses can benefit from being cut at an angle AND then also being cut up the stem vertically an inch or two to maximise the surface area open to the water.
  • Daffodils and Narcissi release a sap in to the vase water that quickly kills all other flowers, so make sure you keep them on their own with just foliages/fillers.
  • Bulb flowers are the only flower types that don't need to be recut when going into water as their stems do not seal over in the same way as other flowers.
  • Hyacinths last longest when kept on their root-base so do not cut them unless you need them substantially shorter.
  • Tulips actually release a growth-hormone when they are cut and can grown by around 2-3 inches. This can make them lanky and less-attractive so we do not recommend cutting tulips stems unless absolutely necessary. To restrict the impact of this growth hormone, you can pierce the stem of each tulip with a pin just below the flower-head.
  • Lily pollen should be removed once each flower opens, in order to avoid getting pollen stains on clothing, carpets, walls, etc. The earlier you do this the better, as the pollen is not loose when the flower first opens. If you get lily pollen on anything DO NOT RUB IT!! Simply dab it with the sticky side of a piece of cello-tape which should pull the pollen out with too much staining.
  • Orchids and other exotic flowers much prefer a warm environment, so these are ideal if your house is particularly hot; they can last up to 4 weeks in a warm home and so are excellent value for money :o) Make sure you keep them away from cold or draughts.