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How to care for and prolong the life of cut flowers

The following are tips and suggestions to care for and prolong the life of your fresh cut flowers.

Cut flowers should be kept refrigerated until they are ready to be used.

Place the flowers as soon as possible and while still in their wrapping in fresh water to allow them to drink will aid in preserving them.

Before arranging the flowers in a vase, cut off approximately an inch from each stem - preferably at an angle, as this exposes more stem surface area to feed. Stems should never be broken off or flattened. It is more desirable to cut the stems under water – this will stop air bubbles getting into the stem which can shorten the life of flowers, then transfer to a vase.

Remove leaves that will be under water in the arrangement to keep the water clean, but do not remove thorns from roses as it tends to shorten their life. Following the instructions will help keep your arrangement as fresh and pretty. Spending just a few minutes preparing your freshly cut flowers will increase their longevity. Obviously you want to keep your roses from turning brown for as long as you can.

Fill a vase with warm or tepid water. Make sure it's no cooler than room temperature. Warm water will be absorbed more quickly.

Make sure the flowers are put into a clean vase, ensuring that the flowers are not firmly packed, so that the flowers will last longer.

Keep flowers away from direct sunlight, heat sources and draughts. At night flowers prefer to be kept cool and will benefit from a cooler thermostat setting. Also keep your flowers away from fruit, as the fruit lets off a gas called ethylene which speeds up the aging process of flowers.

For a longer lasting fresh flower arrangement, change the water every 1-2 days and remember to add a florist preservative as well as re-cutting the stems.

It has been said that adding a (copper) penny and aspirin to the water can serve as a natural alternative to a florist preservative.

Make you own floral preservative using a citrus-based soft drink - add one part soft drink for every three parts water.

Just as some flowers last longer than others, certain varieties of cut flowers last longer than others.

Daffodils can be toxic to other flowers in the same vase, as they produce a poison in the water. Before adding to them with other flowers, leave them on their own for a whole day and do not cut again before adding them to a vase that contains other flowers. There is a special cut flower food available for daffodils enabling them to be mixed with other cut flowers immediately.

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