Caring for Your Floral Arrangements

Take the time to put a little care and thought into caring for your floral arrangements, whether artificial or real. You'll be amazed at the results if you do.

You can usually rely on your real flower bouquets lasing anywhere from 4-7 days, depending on the type of flower and the care you give it. The Society of American Florists provides these easy tips to increase the life of your arrangements:

Making Floral Arrangements Last Longer:

  • Keep the vase filled with water (or floral foam soaked with water)  containing a flower food provided by your florist. Flower foods make flowers last longer. But you have to follow the directions on the flower food packet for best results.  Usually the packets are to be mixed with either a pint of water or a quart of water. Don't dilute the flower foods with more water than is specified on the packet.
  • If the flower food solution becomes cloudy, replace it entirely with properly mixed flower food solution. Don't try to save any of the cloudy water. If possible, re-cut stems by removing one to two inches with a sharp knife. Be sure to use a sharp knife or clippers that will not crush the stems. If possible, cut the stems under water. Immediately place the stems into the solution after cutting.
  • Keep flowers in a cool spot (65 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit is the recommended temperature). Don't put your arrangements in direct sunlight, near heating or cooling vents, in drafty places, directly under ceiling fans, or on top of televisions or radiators. (Appliances like televisions give off heat, which causes flowers to dehydrate. And you wouldn't want any water to get inside your TV set.) Most flowers will last longer under cool conditions so look for those special places.

Caring for Loose Bunches of Flowers:

  • Keep your flowers in a cool place until you can get them in a flower food solution. I've found good success putting mine in the refrigerator, but not for long. Don't forget how important it is to follow the mixing directions on the flower food packet before you mix up a solution.
  • Fill a clean, deep vase with water and add a flower food from your florist. Wash the vase with a detergent or antibacterial cleaning solution before using.
  • Remove leaves that will be below the waterline. This is important. Leaves left on the stem that fall below the water line will promote bacterial microbial growth that may limit water uptake by the flower.
  • Re-cut stems by removing one to two inches with a sharp knife. Place the flowers in the food solution in the vase you have selected.
  • If you purchase loose flowers for your own arrangements, here are some additional tips:
    • When selecting flowers, look for flowers with upright, firm petals and buds beginning to open. Avoid yellow, spotted or drooping leaves. This is a sign of age.
    • When using woody stems and branches, cut the stem with sharp pruning shears. Place them in warm water containing fresh flower food to promote flower opening.

You Don't Need a Green Thumb

Even I have managed to keep some of my plants alive, much to my surprise. Green and flowering live plants not only add beauty to any home or office, they also are good for your health. That's because common house plants are powerful, natural air purifiers. This is a fact determined by the National Aeronatutics and Space Administration (NASA) after a study they did. A good reason to keep your plants healthy by giving them proper care.

You can get guidelines on green house plants and how to keep them thriving from The Society of American Florists.  Care instructions often come with the plants which you purchase from a nursery or florist.

Avoid Direct Sunlight

We would all agree than natural sunlight is best, but some plants can also thrive in office fluorescent light. I've discussed lighting at length on another page in this newsletter, so I'm not going to go into it here. Suffice it to say, flowering plants need a lot of light; foliage plants can do with less light.

Keep the Soil Moist

Try not to let your plants dry out completely or wilt. But be careful not to overwater them. Finding that balance can be tricky. Don't allow plants to stand in water and avoid wetting the plant leaves if you can.

Avoid Extreme Temperatures

65 - 72 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal temperature for most plants. You don't want them to dehydrate, so avoid hot points, vents, furnaces, electrical equipment, incandescent lights.

Quick Links to July Newsletter
Lighting for House Plants
How to Select House Plants
How to Decorate with House Plants
How to Water Garden and Landscape Plants
How to Water House Plants
Caring for House Plants
Master List of Decorating Tips
July's Newsletter (2005)
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