Caring for flowers

hand tied bouquet

You have just been surprised with some gorgeous flowers as a gift, they look amazing and you want to keep them that way as long as possible.  There are various things you can do to ensure your flowers don’t wilt prematurely and encourage every bloom to open.  I’ve written this guide to help you along the way and dispel some old wives tales about flowers.

Before you put your flowers into any container make sure it is clean.  If your vase been lurking on a shelf for months and is dusty, it will need washing.  If you wouldn’t want to drink out the container don’t put your flowers in it.  Bacteria, dirt and dust will cause flowers to fade prematurely.

It is essential to trim the stem ends, as flower stems start to heal after being cut from the plant and air bubbles can cause blockages.  Cutting the stems helps flowers to absorb water and flower food.  Read the flower food packet to ensure the correct dosage.  Flower food provides the necessary nutrients and prolongs vase life.

Fresh flowers don’t like direct sunlight, it accelerate the ageing process. So your sunny window sill will not make a good home for flowers.  Plants however need sunlight, although every type of plant has different requirements, so refer to the plant label for more advice.


Direct heat such as radiators will also cause flowers to open more quickly and dry out, therefore reducing the longevity.  Don’t put your flowers near any fruit as ethylene given off by fruit causes sensitive flowers to die.

Remove all leaves that would be under the water line.  Leaves carry lots of tiny things that will infect the water and make it smell, such as bacteria and fertilizer residue. Preventing infection is the easiest way to help your flowers last.

Old wives’ tales

Don’t be tempted to put anything other than water and flower food in your container, apart from having no way to measure the dosage, they don’t really do anything useful.  Pop a penny in your vase? Definitely not, copper coins release copper very slowly and are therefore not effective, plus most coins are covered in bacteria. Lemonade won’t work either as it doesn’t offer enough sustenance to support flowers.  Sugar won’t help either, it encourages harmful bacteria to grow and sees off your flowers early.

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