Each cut flower variety has a different life expectancy. When buying flowers, be sure to ask your florist how long you should expect your arrangement to last. A little extra care can make a big difference for any size flower arrangement or fresh flower bouquet. Most floral arrangements last at least 5-7 days or longer, depending on the flowers used and the care they receive. Here are some tips to getting the most of your fresh floral arrangement, rose arrangement or plant gift.
- Nancy’s Floral sends all bouquets, whether they are designed in a vase of water or a in a basket with a solution of floral food already in the water.
- Flower foods provide sugars, balance ph and limit bacterial growth. Check your arrangement daily to make sure it has plenty of clear fresh water and keep the vase filled (or floral foam soaked) - make sure to add more water every day. Conditioning water with "home remedies" such as aspirin, bleach, mouthwash or lemon-lime soda in lieu of flower food is not beneficial and may even shorten the longevity of your flowers. Submerging the entire stem up to the flower head in warm water for 10 minutes can revive most wilted flowers.
- Every few days, re-cut fresh flower stems diagonally under running water (ideally with a knife rather than scissors). Trimming flower stems at an angle prevents them from sitting flat on the bottom of the vase, which can block water uptake.
- A common myth suggests cutting the stem vertically to allow more water absorption. No scientific proof supports this myth. In fact, cutting stems vertically destroys the cell structure, causing bacteria growth and hindering water absorption.
- Remove any leaves that may be submerged in the water in your vase. These will rot and create bacteria, which can shorten the life of your floral bouquet.
- Some flowers will bloom quickly, others slowly. Over time, prune away dead blossoms, as this will encourage other blooms to open. As flowers wither, you may want to remove them from the floral bouquet and move the remaining blooms to a smaller vase.
- Keep flowers in a cool spot (65 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit), away from direct sunlight, heating or cooling vents, directly under ceiling fans, or near appliances. High temperatures and sunlight cause flowers to mature at a faster rate, and hot and cold drafts cause flowers to dehydrate which can shorten the lifespan of your bouquet.
- For those with allergies or sensitivities to flower fragrance, the best non-fragrant options are tropical flowers such as orchids, anthurium, birds of paradise or other tropical varieties. Oriental lilies, particularly Stargazer lilies, are strongly fragranced and should be avoided.
- On average your roses should last 5-7 days at the minimum. If proper care and hydration procedures have been followed it is not uncommon for rose arrangements to last 2 weeks or more.
- Temperature is an important factor in determining the life of your roses. The ideal home temperature range for fresh-cut roses is 72-74 F or 22.2 - 23.3 C degrees - this is also ideal for most cut flower arrangements.
- Do not place flowers in direct sunlight or in an area where air from heating and air conditioning vents or ceiling fans will blow directly on your arrangement this will damage the blooms by dehydrating them.
- Re-hydrate your roses often. Roses are very thirsty flowers. Rose vases or rose arrangements in floral foam should never be allowed to dry out; if they do, the stems will seal over and will no longer draw up water. This will result in the flowers prematurely wilting. Keep the water level in vases at its highest point. Refill with lukewarm water and remove any leaves below the water line.
- You should re-cut stems every few days, and change the water (and floral food) every five to seven days. Bacteria in the water can clog stems - shortening the life of your flowers. All of our rose arrangements are shipped with floral food already in the water.
- Premature wilting is not necessarily a sign that the rose is old. It usually indicates that air is trapped in the stem and the preservative solution cannot flow properly up the stem. The end of the stem may be blocked from lack of hydration. Look for a cut or scrape in the bark above the water level. Re-cut the stem above the injured section under water and then submerge the entire rose in a basin or shallow pan of warm water (about 100 degrees Fahrenheit). Be sure to keep the stem and head straight. A rose will usually revive within an hour and can be placed within the arrangement.
- Another option - float the bloom in a bowl of water.
- Some varieties of roses are hybrid to stay in bud form; other varieties open into a full bloom.
Care & Handling Tips for Arranging Roses
- Always use clean vases or containers.
- Strip the rose stem of any foliage that will be underwater. This will help prevent your roses from wilting. Submerged leaves will rot and create bacteria, shortening the life of your bouquet.
- With a sharp knife or cutting shears, cut at least 1" off the bottom of each stem and place your roses in a vase immediately.
- Carefully pluck off the two to three outer "guard petals" of your roses if they have become bruised during shipping. Roses delivered by our shop should already have these petals removed.
- Add floral food that may be obtained at our shop, to the vase water. Use the recommended amount for the size of your bouquet. Be sure to follow the directions on the package; improper mixing does more harm than good.
- To dry flowers, hang individual or groups of stems upside down in a warm ventilated location for a couple of weeks until dry. Another method is to clip some of the blooms and place them in the center of a heavy book, such as a thick telephone book. Place additional weight on the book and set aside for about 2 weeks. After the flowers have dried, place them in a scrapbook or use them for other craft projects. You may also purchase a flower press at most craft stores.
Care for Loose Bunches or Boxed Flowers
- Keep your flowers in a cool place until you can get them in a flower food solution. Don't forget how important it is to follow the mixing directions on the flower food packet. Fill a clean (washed with a detergent or antibacterial cleaning solution), deep vase with water and add a flower food from your florist. Remove leaves that will be below the waterline to deter bacterial microbial growth that will limit water uptake by the flower. Re-cut stems by removing one to two inches with a sharp knife or scissors. Place the flowers in the vase solution you've prepared.
- If you purchase loose flowers for your own arrangements you should also consider these tips: When selecting flowers, look for flowers with upright, firm petals and buds beginning to open. Yellow, spotted or drooping leaves are signs of age. When using woody stems and branches (such as quince, forsythia or lilac), cut the stem with sharp pruning shears. Place them in warm water containing fresh flower food to promote flower opening.
Care for House Plants
Not only are green and flowering plants a great enhancement to any home or office decor, they are also beneficial to your health. The results of a study by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) show that common houseplants are powerful, natural air cleaners - all the more reason why you want to keep your plants healthy with the proper care. You don't need a green thumb to keep your plant healthy and thriving – in fact, you don't need to do much at all. With just a little attention to appropriate lighting, watering, and temperature, your plant will be a beautiful reminder of the person who gave it to you for many months to come.
Due to the numerous types of green and blooming plants - most plants come with care instructions specified for the type of plant. The Society of American Florists provides these additional general guidelines to keep most green houseplants thriving:
- Keep plants in medium-light locations - out of direct sunlight
- Natural light is best, but some plants can also thrive in office fluorescent light. Most flowering potted plants should be placed in areas with the most light in order to maintain good flower color and promote the maximum number of flowers to open. Foliage plants will do well under lower light levels and can be placed in areas providing reduced light.
- Plant soil should be kept moist at all times.
- Plants should not be allowed to dry out or wilt. Be careful to avoid overwatering - do not allow plants to stand in water.
- Avoid wetting plant leaves.
- Avoid excessive heat or cold
- Plants should be kept in a cool spot (between 65 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit) for best performance. They should be kept away from direct sunlight, heating or cooling vents, directly under ceiling fans, or on top of televisions or radiators. (Appliances like televisions give off heat, which causes plants to dehydrate.)
- To make your plant shine, wipe the leaves with a soft, damp cloth and then return the plant to its pot and then to its setting.
Warnings for Pet Owners
- Some flower varieties that are particularly toxic to animals include lilies, palms, tulip bulbs, narcissus bulbs, azaleas, rhododendrons, cyclamens, kalanchoes, amaryllises, chrysanthemums, poinsettias, English ivy and peace lilies.
- According to the National Animal Poison Control Center, certain types of lilies can cause renal failure in cats that have ingested any part of the lily. We strongly suggest keeping lilies out of the reach of cats. For more information, contact your veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) at www.aspca.org/apcc or call 888-426-4435. It is important to note that lilies do not pose a problem for other pets or humans.
Sources: FTD, Society of American Florists, Teleflora