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Farm Fresh Thoughts

How Can I Keep My Flowers Alive?

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Hi, everyone! Welcome to our very first blog post!

I was asked how to keep flowers alive and thought that was a great topic for our first post because it’s something most people want to know more about.

First, you need to keep in mind that cut flowers do have a limited vase life, simply because they are cut. At some point they are going to wilt and need to be disposed of, sad as that is. But there are some tricks you can use to extend that vase life as long as possible.

For example, this bouquet of lilies we recently shipped lasted an incredible 19 days!

Nine days after delivery

Fourteen days after delivery

Nineteen days after delivery

You can see that some blooms were lost along the way - that's normal.  In fact, removing wilted stems will allow the rest to live a bit longer as there's less competition for the water.  So don't be afraid to take out some stems and leave others!

So, how do you get flowers to last this long?

The biggest (and hardest to manage) trick is having very fresh flowers to start with. If you’re ordering from us, we take care of that for you! If you’re getting your flowers at a grocery store, chances are good that those flowers are at least a week old already because of the process of getting them to your store. Thus, most grocery store flowers will only last maybe another week in a vase, so keep that in mind when buying flowers.

That said, once you have the flowers, the first thing you should always do is trim the stems a little bit. Trim about ¼ inch at a 45 degree angle – this allows the stem to drink as much water as possible with ease. Invest in a pair of garden shears for this. I cannot stress this enough. Shears are inexpensive ($10-$15) and available just about anywhere (I got mine at Rite-Aid.) These are much sharper than ordinary kitchen scissors and are designed to cut through floral stems. I used to use scissors to trim my flowers and if you have too you’ll be all too familiar with how frustrating that is. Some floral stems are very tough and you have to saw at them with your scissors, hurting your wrist and damaging the flowers (and probably your scissors too!). Shears will snip right through them. Continue to do this every few days – keeping the stem open and able to drink will allow the flowers to last longer. If you’re not sure if you need to trim them, simply feel the stem. If it feels soggy or slimy, you need to trim it. Trim off just above where it feels slimy and you’ll be good to go!

Second, make sure to change the water in the vase frequently. Every day isn’t always necessary, but every other day is good. Think of it this way – would you like to drink a glass of water that had been sitting stagnant on the counter for a few days? It wouldn't taste very good, would it? Bacteria can grow very easily in stagnant water and that’s often what leads to flowers wilting prematurely. Keeping the water clean and fresh is KEY.

Lastly, those little packets of flower food that always come with bouquets? They work! They’re not so much “flower food” as they are bacteria inhibitors. If bacteria can’t grow, the flowers will last longer.

So to recap:

-Start with fresh flowers (don’t be alarmed if flowers arrive with unopened buds – flowers that are already open are older and won’t live as long; the buds will open in a day or two.)

-Trim the stems a bit at an angle to allow easier drinking

-Change the water often

-Use the packets of flower food provided

One last thing – not all flowers have the same vase life. Some are hardier and will naturally last longer than others. For instance, lilies like the ones shown above can last nearly three weeks when properly cared for, while tulips (among others) are quite fragile and may only last about a week, even when given the same care as the lilies. It’s for this reason that we don’t offer certain flowers in our bouquets. Since we pride ourselves on the longevity of our bouquets we don’t want to send flowers that we know won’t last.

I hope this was helpful – let me know if these tips make a difference for you!

~Mandie

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