Surrounding ourselves with flowers can improve our physical and mental health. Flowers stimulate our dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin levels—the happy chemicals in our brain. They also remind us to slow down and enjoy them before they are gone. Because as we all know, cut flowers don’t last forever. While that’s part of their charm, there are a few things you should do (and not do) to make them last as long as possible.
Do give your flowers a “spa treatment” before arranging. This is commonly called “conditioning.” Consider a Chrysalis floral conditioner during this step. Fill a bucket a third of the way with water, making sure each stem reaches the water. Put the bucket with flowers in a cool, dark room and allow them to rest for several hours. This will lengthen vase life by approximately four days. Follow the directions on your flower food exactly.
Don’t use a dirty container. You should never reuse a vase without washing it first. A good rule is to add a few drops of bleach mixed in water to your vases after each use, let them soak before you wash and then put them away. If your glass vase gets “cloudy” over time, you can clean it with vinegar, a dishwasher rinse aid or a toilet bowl cleaner.
Do pay attention to the water temperature. The water in your vase should be tepid—something you would like to have your feet in! And a caution here to those using a water softener: the added salts in your water will sometimes kill the flowers. If your flowers always die quickly, this may be why.
Don’t obsess over floral “foods.” Using these for cut flowers is fine but not necessary. There are all kinds of tricks people use—a penny in the vase, a shot of gin or vodka, an aspirin or floral food packs. The best food for your plants is simply keeping the water clean.
Do remove all the leaves that will be below the water line in your vase. Not only do they look ugly, they rot, smell and make your vase water look unpleasant.
Don’t use dull clippers when cutting your stems. Stems that look “stringy” when cut show it’s time to sharpen your clippers. After this step move them into your prepared water quickly so the stems don’t close.
Do have some fun arranging your flowers. There is no right or wrong—place your flowers in the vase in a way that pleases you!
Don’t spray or mist your arranged flowers. This can cause fungal issues.
Do be prepared to troubleshoot problems. If you notice a flower either not opening or wilting, remove it from your vase. Re-cut the stem and place it in hot water from your tap. Leave it in the hot water until the water temperature has cooled. Also, place flowers out of the direct sun and/or away from heat ducts.
Don’t forget to do some maintenance. Every two to three days, re-cut your stems and change the water so your flowers stay hydrated.