There’s nothing better than giving—or receiving—a beautiful bouquet of flowers for Valentine’s Day. However, there is just one downside—fresh-cut flowers usually have a pretty short lifespan. Luckily, there are a few tricks to keep your buds from drooping so soon. Use these tried-and-true tips to get the most out of your stunning blooms.
1. CUT THE STEMS CORRECTLY
Before placing flowers in a vase, snip at least one to two inches off the bottom of each stem. You can use clean, sharp scissors, garden shears, or a knife, but make sure to cut at a 45-degree angle underwater to increase surface area and maximize hydration. Put your fresh-cut flowers in your vase as soon as possible, and retrim them every few days or when you change the water.
2. PRACTICE PROPER WATER MAINTENANCE
When it comes to water for flowers, room-temperature tap is typically fine. However, some tap waters have more chemicals than others, so using filtered, distilled, or bottled water will yield best results. You should check levels daily, refill as needed, and completely rinse out and replenish the water every other day to reduce bacteria and fungi. Keep in mind, the bigger the arrangement, the more water you’ll use.
3. REMOVE DYING FLOWERS
Not every bloom will last the same amount of time. Some will wilt and die sooner than others, and when that happens, you need to remove the entire flower and any fallen leaves ASAP. Dead flowers emit ethylene, a gas that can disrupt and drastically shorten the life of your entire bouquet.
4. USE FLOWER FOOD
If your flowers came with pre-made “flower food,” use it! This little packet contains a mixture of sugar, acid, and bleach and will provide important nutrients, regulate pH levels, and promote hydration. If your arrangement didn’t come with flower food—have no fear, you can make your own. Simply combine one teaspoon of sugar, one teaspoon of bleach, and two teaspoons of lemon or lime juice with one quart of water. Don’t forget to add flower food when you change the water!
5. DISPLAY THEM IN THE RIGHT PLACE
How long your flowers last directly correlates to where you display them. Flowers thrive in cool, shaded areas away from strong light sources. Avoid placing your arrangement in direct sunlight, under vents, or near fruits and veggies. Chilling it in the fridge every night can also offer preservation benefits.
Last Bud Not Least
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, including your arrangement. But that doesn’t mean you have to stop enjoying your flowers. Leave your petals out to dry or use the oven or microwave to quickly reduce their moisture. Use the petals to decorate your favorite candle or make a potpourri, or to press and frame for a lasting memory.