Thursday, November 15, 2012
Flowers are a symbol of friendship, bringing comfort and delight to most everyone. But a floral arrangement eventually dies, taking its beauty and splendor with it. Cut flower arrangements begin to wilt after three to five days. Even blooms in the garden don’t last past the season. Certain annuals will live from the time they bloom in spring until the frost, such as Marigolds, Bachelor Buttons, Petunias, and Zinnias. Bulb plants like Daffodils, Tulips, and Irises, bloom for a short time in the spring. Certainly, it would be nice to enjoy your floral arrangements in their fresh brilliance for much longer. Receiving pleasure from your blooms, whether from the garden or a floral shop, doesn’t have to be seasonal or short-lived. There are 4 simple ways to prolong the enjoyment of your flowers.
1. Cutting & Pruning
Cutting a flower stem with a sharp blade or shears will allow the stem to absorb more water. Cutting the stem with a dull knife will crush it, keeping water from absorbing properly. Cutting the stems at an angle will prevent the stems from sitting on the bottom of the vase, enabling them to absorb the water they need. A wet cut helps the cut plants hydrate easier. A wet cut is cutting the stems in the water rather than in the dry open air. The best time to cut your garden blooms is either in the early morning or in the late evening. This is the time when hydration of the flower is at its peak. Choose to cut the young blooms that haven’t fully opened yet. Trimming off the lower leaves on stems will streamline water intake, allowing the nutrients to go to the flower instead of unnecessary leaves. Leaves in water go rotten easier, creating more bacteria. In the garden, plants will increase their yield if you pinch off the dead blooms. The old blossoms should be removed next to where they connect to the leaf.
Plants that are alive require sunlight, but cut floral arrangements should be kept out of direct sunlight. The sun will speed up the fading process and cause the plants to dry out faster. Floral arrangements should have a cool environment and avoid warm temperatures. A good temperature range is between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. Water and Preservatives
Flower vases should have the water changed often to prevent the growth of bacteria. Bacteria can accelerate the rotting that may occur in floral arrangements or cut plants, shortening their vase life. Preservatives can be put in the vases to extend the life of plants even further. A homemade preservative can be made by mixing 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1 teaspoon of bleach, and 2 tablespoons of lemon or lime juice in warm water.
If you really enjoyed a specific flower from your arrangement or garden, you can press the petals, and keep a tangible memory. Pluck out the petals you want to press and place them between paper towels. Set the paper towels under a book or a board until the petals dry. Spray a light coat of hairspray on your pressed petals to keep them from falling apart in time. Carefully wrap them in newspaper, and store them in a shoebox in a warm and dry location.
Giving a flower arrangement to someone you care about, may be as rewarding as receiving one. Many flower shops offer same day flower delivery, to provide you with the most convenience in gift giving. Taking the time to prolong the life of your flowers or preserve the ones you want to remember will bring you greater satisfaction, and you will enjoy your blooms nearly three times as long, with great pleasure.