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How to care for your Fresh Cut flowers

We all love to stare at beautiful flowers. But after a while, they start to wilt and we find ourselves wishing they could stay fresh longer. Maybe it is in the fact that its beauty is not forever that we tend to cherish it more. Nevertheless, there is always some added value and incremental joy in seeing that your flowers last longer than usual.

Lengthening the vase life of fresh flowers is a science mastered by growers and prestigious florists. Some consider it a trade secret, but personally, I think everybody deserves to be beholden to a thing of beauty just a little longer than a flower’s usual vase life. Here are some tips to enjoying your beautiful flowers longer:

Upon receipt of your flowers, place the stems immediately in water. Remember that they have been removed from their source of water, the root system, and will wilt quickly if not placed in water. It is useful to follow the tips below for caring for fresh flowers.

Cutting
As a general rule, cut stems should be placed in water immediately, as air will rapidly move into the water-conducting tissues and plug the cells. Cuts can be made under-water to assure no air enters the stem. The cut should be made diagonally with a very sharp knife or scissors to maximize water-intake. Upon receipt of your flowers, re-cut the stem.

Floral Food
Commercial preservatives will increase the life of cut flowers and should always be used. Contrary to what many home remedy experts recommend, adding aspirin, wine, or pennies to cut flowers will not help to keep them fresh longer. Do not attempt a home-made concoction. A floral preservative is a complex mixture of sucrose; acidifier, an inhibitor of microorganisms; and a respiratory inhibitor. These elements work together to provide food for the flowers and inhibit the growth of bacteria and maximize water uptake.

Needless to say, bacteria blocks the stems and inhibits water uptake. Hence the basic rule in aiding the floral preservative in its functions, is to slow down microorganisms. Do this by keeping the vase or container always clean, and the water in it always clear. Also remove all leaves below the water surface, as they soon deteriorate.

Storage
It is ideal that we place our flowers in front of us the whole day, be it on our work table, bedside, dining table, or living room. Unfortunately, we have a tendency to keep these places where we linger in the path of electric fan drafts. This is good for us because it keeps us cool but it dehydrates our cut flowers. You should keep flowers away from hot or cold air drafts and hot spots (radiators, direct heat, or television sets). While both drafts and hot spots increase water loss, hot spots reduce a flower's life by speeding transpiration (water loss) and respiration (use of stored food such as sugars) and increasing development (rate of petal unfolding). When away from home, move the flowers into the refrigerator or the coldest (above 35° F/1.5° C) spot in the house. Again, this will slow down water loss, respiration, and development.

Never store fruit and flowers together. Apples produce ethylene gas, which causes premature aging in flowers.

With these flower tips in mind, you may have a few more days to be mesmerized by the beauty of your flowers!