Nothing is worse than footing the bill for some beautiful flowers only to hear that they didn’t last very long. If the flowers are very fresh when they are delivered, you can actually help them to last a lot longer than they otherwise would.
Trick No. 1: Some florists will provide flower food in a little packet accompanying the flowers. While adding this to the vase water will help some, I don’t think it works as well as my “flower bouquet cocktail” I’ve developed over the years.
Flower Bouquet Cocktail
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tsp Clorox bleach
- Spring Water
Put 1/2 cup of spring water in a Pyrex (glass) measuring cup. Cook in a microwave on high for 30 to 60 seconds (until hot). Add sugar and mix until fully dissolves. Pour spring water directly into a clean flower vase. Pour water mixture into that. Then pour one tsp. bleach in and stir gently into water in vase with a long slender utensil.
Trick No. 2: This relates to the cutting of the stems. I first put the vase on the edge of the counter so that it is easier to know the right height and place to cut the flower stems down to. When you cut the stems, do it with a sharp knife and make the cut on a diagonal (allows more of the “cocktail” to get into the stem). I’m told with roses in particular, its best to make the cut under running water. With all flowers, you should place the newly cut stem in the “cocktail” immediately. And, even if you don’t really want to change the height of a given stem, cut the very end of it in the way described here to that it can have an easier time drawing up the “cocktail”.
Trick No. 3: The final trick relates to salvaging stems as they begin to fade. You really want to do this before the petals start to become totally limp and fall off. This is something that I do for very intricate, beautiful flowers which also tend to dry well.
You will need what I call rose vials. They are the water containers that are shaped like test tubes and have a flat rubber or plastic top with a criss-cross slit where the florist inserts a flower (typically a long rose) that is part of a bouquet that is being prepared for a boxed delivery. I save these vials whenever I receive roses this way. You can also go to a craft store or a potentially a florist and buy them.
I determine the number of possible flowers that can be harvested beforehand and prepare the vials by pouring “cocktail” in them, right up to the top. I set them aside in a coffee mug on the kitchen counter.
Then, each morning and evening (and afternoon, if I’m home), I look for flowers that “are ready”. For each one that is, I take it from the vase and cut it down to a 4 to 5 inch stem, with a diagonal cut. This is immediately placed in a vial that has been prepared.
Then, each of these flowers are placed in a retirement home of sorts. It may be in a wicker basket that has a few little pots of live, leafy plants or maybe in a ceramic container that is well suited for flowers of this height. This is where your creativity can really come into play! What do you have that these flowers (which often still have a lot of color) will look beautiful in? I honestly have a lot of fun doing this. You are going to be surprised at just how gorgeous these retirement arrangements can be!
Every day for a week or so, you will be migrating these flowers to their new home. It isn’t unusual for this new arrangement to look good for many more weeks! If the drying process works especially well (and the cocktail that is slowly disappearing in the vials really helps this), you may even want to keep one of these arrangements indefinitely!
On the other hand, if you aren’t completely committed to Sending Flowers as a gift, there are always other gift alternatives that you can consider which have permanent staying power right out of the gate!