Avoid These Mistakes With Your Fresh Flowers

Fresh cut flowers should be easy-peasy. After all, the work of cultivating them has been done for you, so you all you have to do is fill a flower vase with water and toss them in, right?

…Not quite. While displaying a Bouq is more low-maintenance than achieving the perfect pH balance of your indoor hydrangeas’ soil, there are some common mistakes you’ll want to avoid in order to give your flowers the best shelf-life – or should we say vase-life? – possible.

So without further ado, here are the most common flower display mistakes to steer clear of when you get your Bouq home.


Forgetting to Change the Water

We all know fresh cut flowers are a temporary delight. So, will it kill your flowers to let them sit in days-old water? Technically, no – sadly time is already on that task. But to make your Bouq last as long as possible, it’s best to change the water every two days.

Letting Your Flowers Go Hungry

So we’ve covered hydration and the need for clean water – but your fresh cut flowers need to be fed, too! Most fresh flowers come with one or two packets of cut flower food, typically containing sugar for sustenance, citric acid to reduce the water’s pH levels, and bleach or something similar to kill bacteria (attracted by the sugar).

Don’t worry if you run out of cut flower food – those little packets almost never last as long as you want your flowers to, as you’ll need to add some every time you change the water. If you’ve got sugar, lemon or lime juice (a lemon-lime soda like Sprite or 7-Up takes care of both in one ingredient), and bleach lying around, you can whip up your own batch of cut flower food at home.

Using a Dirty Flower Vase

Sure, flowers come from the ground, and a little dirt never hurt anyone. That said, you can give your flowers the best chance at (vase) life by making sure the flower vase you choose is free of any organic remnants of flowers past, which can create cozy conditions for bacteria or mold.

You won’t need more than soap and warm water to do the trick; just make sure you rinse it thoroughly so your flowers aren’t drinking soapy water.

Freezing Your Flowers Out

When choosing a room or part of a room to place your flowers, make sure the air isn’t too cold – or hot, for that matter. Extreme temperatures can accelerate wilting. That said, tropical flowers like orchids or Birds of Paradise won’t mind a steamy room.

Similarly, most flowers will be comfortable in room temperature water. However, bulb flowers – like tulipsprefer cold water.

Ignoring the Stems

Your fresh flowers will need plenty of access to the water in their vase in order to last as long as possible, which means paying attention to their primary access point: their stems.

In general, you should maximize surface area by cutting stems at an angle, not flat. If you’ve bought your flowers already cut, your vendor will most likely have cut the stems at an angle for you. However, if you’re cutting flowers from your own garden or adjusting purchased flowers to fit your chosen flower vase, cut the stems at about 45-degree angles.

Getting Lazy with Fallen Leaves

As the days go by, sadly, your fresh cut flowers will drop their leaves. It’s part of the cycle of life! But flowers don’t like to be reminded of their mortality any more than we do, so make sure you clear out those dead leaves when you notice them. The water will stay cleaner and freer of bacteria that way, and your flowers will thank you for it!

Careless Placement

We wish the only rule for fresh cut flower placement were to put them wherever they make you happiest. Unfortunately, though, certain environments won’t be friendly to your plants – and vice-versa.

Avoid setting Bouqs next to ripening fruit, as it releases ethylene gas which reduces blooming, color, and overall vase life. It should also be a no-brainer not to smoke cigarettes near your fresh flowers.

And if you just have a soft spot for flowers that happen to be toxic, like lily of the valley, make sure to place them well away from pets or children (or avoid them whenever possible).


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