How to Care for Cut Flowers

How in the h*ll do you keep cut flowers alive?? Well, I had to learn due to the fact that pretty non-dead-looking flowers is low-key important when you’re a Florist, and now I’m going to share this knowledge with you! There are some general tips that help with all cut plants and then there are some specific flowers that enjoy being more of a pain and require a little extra love, but I’ve broken it down as simply as I can below.

  1. Prep the flowers
    • Unpack the flowers from their wrapping as soon as you get them home, but you’ll need to do a little prep work before you put them in water!
    • REMEMBER, nothing keeps flowers fresher for longer than a clean environment, so be sure to use clean clippers, a clean vase, and clean water!
    • Cut at least 1-2 inches off the ends of the stems, making sure to cut at a 45° angle to help them soak up water better. Take off any leaves/foliage that would be sitting in water once you place the flowers in their vase/container.
    • Water temperatures also have an effect on the bloom life, and while room temperature water is typically the safest, warm water can help open the stems to better soak up water. Be careful not to shock the flowers however, for example putting fresh-from-the-cooler flowers in hot water.
    • Just like people need food, so do flowers! Be sure to mix flower food into the vase/container water.
  2. Find them a good home
    • Flowers tend to last longer in cooler temperatures. The ideal temperatures for storing cut flowers is 33°-35° and 50°-55° for tropical flowers such as bird of paradise, tropical orchids, and anthurium. This is best when keeping flowers for a long time before designing with them. However, if you’re designing immediately and putting the flowers out for display, steer clear of extreme temperatures while still leaning towards a cooler environment.
    • If you’re like me and don’t have a cooler, keep the flowers in a cooler part of your house/apartment and pick them up 1-2 days before designing with them so they have time to soak and liven up but not so much time that they wilt.
    • Sunlight speeds up the bloom life, so to keep the flowers looking fresh for as long as possible you’ll want to keep them out of direct sunlight, however placing some flowers in sunlight will help them open up. If you are storing your flowers for a few days before designing, keep them in a dark room to last longer.
  3. Freshen them up
    • Bacteria is the arch nemesis of cut flowers, and the best way to combat it is to trim the ends of your flowers and to replace the water every couple of days!

I hope this information helps you with your cut flowers whether you’re designing for yourself or for a business. Good luck and happy floristing!


Savannah Wichman

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