Flowers are nature’s free gift to us. They’re pretty and they make for a perfect gift. On top of this, they also have mental health benefits including their ability to boost mood and calm the mind. In short, they are the gift that keeps on giving. A 2008 study found that hospital patients who had flowers in their rooms felt less anxious. They were also more positive about their recovery and needed less post-operative care than patients without plants.
The problem with flowers is that they are perishable and last a short time. However, there are ways to work around this and make your flowers last longer. Here are some of the things you can do to make your flowers more long-lasting:
- Cut the stems
Once you get your flowers and are ready to transfer them to a beautiful vase, be sure to cut off the stems. There’s a scientific reason behind this. Use garden shears or scissors to trim one to two inches off and cut at an angle. Cutting the stems at an angle allows for better water intake since they aren’t sitting flat on the bottom of a vase.
The second reason for this is that after the flowers are cut from their mother plant or the roots, the stem wound immediately begins to heal itself, much like a wound on our skin. The cut-off flower stem protects itself against infections and drying out through the cutting wound by sealing it. This means that when cut flowers are put into a container or vase solution, the water absorption is greatly decreased or even completely stopped, resulting in a premature demise of the entire flower. Cutting the stems allows the water to be absorbed back.
Soda helps flowers to keep fresh and last longer. Don’t throw away those last drops of soda. Pour about 1/4 cup into the water in a vase full of cut flowers. The sugar in the soda will make the blossoms last longer. In the event that your vase is clear and you don’t want the colour of your soda to be seen, consider using Sprite or any other clear soda that will not be visible.
- Keep them in water
There’s a good reason why they say that water is life. It doesn’t apply only to humans, but also to flowers. Keep your flowers hydrated, and this will make them last longer. Your flowers won’t last long without water, especially once their stems have been cut. After picking out a clean vase, fill it with room-temperature water. Clean your vase thoroughly and change out the water every two to three days.
- Use flower food
If you’re lucky enough, some florists sell flowers with flower food in a small sachet. This helps to keep the flowers alive. Flowers do produce sugar during photosynthesis, but when they’re cut, so are their food pipelines. Since flowers can be collected before they’ve fully developed, they need a little food to bolster their buds.
In case you don’t have flower food you can make your own. Mix water with 2 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, and 1/2 tablespoon household bleach. If you don’t have lemons, sugar and vinegar will work just fine. Dissolve 3 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons white vinegar per litre. Cut your stems and put the cut flowers in there.
- Avoid direct sunlight
Another way to preserve your flowers is to keep them away from the sun. 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 cause the flowers to quickly dehydrate.
- Prune the flowers
To preserve your flowers, you may want to cut off some of the leaves. Remove any leaves below the waterline. It will not only make your bouquet look better, but also prevent bacterial growth. Some flowers, like roses, have guard petals which are the two or three outermost petals of the flower. Removing these will allow your flower to open up fully.
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