Mother’s Day is just around the corner and giving flowers is almost as common as giving roses to your sweetheart on Valentines Day. But let’s face it: that arrangement is getting expensive! Your $25 or $50 isn’t buying what it used to get her. So let’s make whatever you get last as long as possible.
Luckily, I grew up with a mom that had a turbo green thumb. Her gardens were huge and things grew everywhere. We lived in a DESERT people, and she had fruit trees, flowers, vegetables, berries grasses and in her home she had orchids and other plants that people said were hard to grow. She has a Christmas cactus that blooms all year. So, when I need advice about plants, she’s the expert I turn to. Here’s what she had to say about keeping your arrangements gorgeous: If you have a bunch of fresh flowers start at #1. If you have an arrangement already done start at #5.
- As soon as you get home, put your flowers in a sink and cover their stems with cold water. Make sure they can drink it because they might be in there several minutes.
- Fill your vase with half COLD water and half ICE. You read it correctly, ICE. Think about it: where do florists store their flowers? In a refrigerator! So if you want your flowers to bloom and die quickly, keep at room temperature. If you want them to bloom slowly and last, keep them as cold as possible without freezing them. Thus, the ice water. If you have any florist food stir it in. If not, it’s OK. What flowers need most is fresh water.
- Now, back to the flowers. Take a pair of SHARP scissors or a SHARP knife and cut about 2 inches off the bottom of each stem on about a 45-degree diagonal and strip off any leafy-greens that will be underwater. Woody greens like thorns don’t matter. Then put the flower in your ice water vase. If you have a mix of flowers, try to start with the largest flowers first, moving to the smallest with the greenery last. Always do greenery last.
- BEFORE you put in the greenery, stop and think for a moment about where you want to put these flowers. Ideally you will want the top of the flowers at eye level or lower so you can enjoy all the flowers as they bloom. Once you’ve made your decision arrange your flowers and add your greenery.
- If it will be going in the middle of a table you will want to put the tallest flowers in the center, the smaller flowers in the middle and the greenery around the edges. Some people like having some greenery in the very top too. You decide.
- If the flowers are going to be on a sideboard or in a place where they will only be seen primarily from one direction, then place the greenery in the back spread out kind of like a fan, then tallest flowers to shortest. This is how I’ve done my flowers.
- Place your beautiful arrangement where you will enjoy it the most and keep an eye on the water level. Add in ice twice a day and more water as needed. On day three or four, depending on when your flowers stop drinking water, dump the water in your vase and repeat steps 1-5 as long as your flowers last. My mom has had hers last over 2 weeks! You should easily expect a week-plus.
A few more EZ ideas to keep in mind when dealing with cut flowers:
- Tulips like to droop. Don’t put them in a vase with a top that has a drooping edge – they will only droop faster. Stick with a straight edge for them.
- Roses are weird. You know that cut I talked about? With them you HAVE to do it ALL THE WAY underwater AND have the scissors/knife under as well. Otherwise an air bubble goes up the stem and starves your rose to death. Sad, huh? That’s why some droop over almost immediately and never bloom. An air bubble killed them.
- Your flowers will last longer in a room with cool temperatures. Avoid displaying them in direct sunlight or near appliances that generate heat. You’ll also want to avoid areas like open windows, heating or cooling vents and ceiling fans as they can suck all the water out of your little darlings. You also shouldn’t display your bouquet near fruit. That’s right, ripening fruits release tiny amounts of ethylene gas which can slowly kill your fresh arrangement. Who knew?
Well, that’s it. Now you can get that Mother in your life a gorgeous bouquet and know that with your help it will be worth every penny!