The process for handling a bunch of cut flowers is much the same for all varieties: re-cut the stems, place in clean water. Here are some tips to keep your bunch looking beautiful.
To take in water effectively, cut stems need the water vessels in the stem open and unblocked. Cutting a centimetre or two off the end of the stem with sharp scissors or secateurs removes any dried or dead tissue that might block the water vessels.
All stem openings must be fully submerged in water to stay fresh.
Flowers like clean water. Make sure any leaves sitting under the water level are removed to prevent bacterial growth.
Keep the water to around one half of the vase. The aim is to keep leaves out of the water, so it is just the cut stem under water. Some varieties can drink a lot of water, so it is always good to replace or check the water level every 2 – 3 days.
Flowers last longer in cooler conditions. So most flowers in a warm room will not last as long as those in cooler conditions.
Keep out of direct sunlight, especially through glass, which can intensify heat.
Some varieties have multiple flowers on a stem that open at different stages. Pinching off dead blooms while new buds open keeps the arrangement looking fresh.
If flowers are left out of water for too long they can become too floppy to rehydrate. This period of time varies enormously for different varieties and conditions. Some can last for days out of water, some only minutes on a hot day. Talking to your florist about the best variety for your requirements.
Sometimes florists supply a sachet of ‘preservatives’ with flowers. These solutions can help to keep the water clean and prolong the life of the flowers. They can contain a mix of compounds, such as an antibacterial agent (like bleach), citric acid and sugar. However, a simple change of water and re-trim of the flower stems every few days can help to prolong the life of flowers by keeping water bacteria levels down.
Flowers can be composted. Once your flowers have finished, divert the waste into a home compost or into a green waste stream for composting if possible.
Make sure any wires have been removed, and that nothing unnatural contaminates the green waste stream.