Cut Flower Care

I had the great pleasure//stress//elation//overwhelm-edness (in phases) of delivering about 15 bouquets in the past few days. It felt wonderful--spring is in the air, obviously, and the flowers I found to purchase were in soft-bright colors, if you know what I mean. Foggy spring morning colors.

But now that those bouquets are ensconced on the kitchen tables, mantles, and dressers of their recipients, I want to share some info about how to keep them looking good. Flowers are necessarily impermanent, and a huge part of their beauty and meaning comes from watching them change and decay, but few things are stinkier than cut flowers rotting in old nasty water.

So follow these simple instructions to stave off that rottenness:
1. Do not place bouquets near cold drafts or heaters. Flowers prefer cool temperatures, so make sure that they aren't resting on an electronic device (TV or stereo, etc) that emits heat.

2. Do not place them, much as you may want to, near bowls of fruit. The ethylene gas emitted by ripening fruits will over-ripen (aka cause the rapid wilt) of your bouuqet.

3. Keep the water level high, and keep the water clean. For the first few days, just top off the water that's in your bouquet. In Troy, our water is quite chlorinated, so it's best to use filtered water. That said, I use H2O straight from the tap. We can't all be perfect. Flowers prefer room-temperature water--hot water will cook 'em; cold water can clog 'em up.

4. Every few days, trim the cut ends of each stem, and replace all the water in the vase. Flowers uptake water in order to keep themselves fresh-looking, but their stems can clog with bacteria or with a sticky sap sometimes emitted by their stems.

5. Remove wilting flowers and deadhead "spent" blossoms. You may want to believe that that old tulip will spring back to life, but it's gone, man. Get it out of there and enjoy the flowers that still look good. With more complex flowers, like the delphinium include in this week's bouquets, you can remove the lower blossoms on the stem as they fade, and still watch the upper buds open. 
(5A: That said, sometimes you can revive a sad-looking blossom by giving it a fresh cut and new water. One of my big tubs ran dry this week, and when I came home all the snapdragons were staring at the floor. I re-cut and refreshed their water, and now they're back to their spiky gorgeous selves again.)

That's it! Send any flower-care questions or bouquet requests to me at, or send a Facebook message anytime.