Love is eternal. Valentine’s Day flowers aren’t. The fleeting beauty of cut flowers and gift plants is one reason they are so highly cherished.
The stunning bouquet of roses… or indeed any other flowers… has arrived and that first flush of romantic delight quickly changes into blind panic… how to keep them alive!
Help is at hand with The Flowers & Plants Association’s quick guide to perfect flower loving… with not a drop of gin in sight.
- If your flowers have been delivered in a ‘bubble’ of water (what the trade call an aqua pack) take them out as soon as possible. We know the packaging looks fab but a bubble is really only for delivery purposes. It’s fine to leave them in the wrapping for up to 12 hours but after that you should transfer them to a vase. A tip is to hold the bouquet over a sink and slice the wrapping at the bottom so the water pours out. If you tilt the bouquet like a jug you may get spillage.
- If it’s a hand tied bouquet you should keep the string around the stems in place so the bouquet holds its shape. If you want to make a couple of vases from your gift, snip the string carefully and arrange as required but always make sure that any part of the stem that will sit in the water is leaf free as they contaminate the water and decrease flower life.
- Mix the flower food that comes with most delivered flowers with the right amount of water… the mix is important to make sure the flowers get the right amount of nutrients. If there wasn’t any flower food, then only use plain water… it’s an old wives’ tale that aspirin, lemonade or gin will help. They all have a purpose… just not with flowers!
- Cut about 2 – 5cm of stem off the bottom at a short, slanted 45° angle using a sharp knife or scissors. We could get all technical about xylem vessels, micro-organisms and vascular take-up but basically the wider the cut, the better the water take up. Avoid blunting the stems as this causes a whole lot of damage and stops water absorption which will lead to premature wilt. It’s a bit like smashing your finger with a hammer or having a paper cut… both hurt like heck but the paper cut heals more quickly.
- Enjoy… with the right care and the right flower food your roses should last at least a week… other flowers even longer!
Blooms will last longer if you keep the plants at 50 to 60 degrees and if you water frequently. Once a cineraria wilts, it almost never revives. On the other hand, keeping them soggy can lead to root rot and premature death. Water when the soil surface just begins to feel dry.
See what a difference flower food makes!