Caring for Your Cut Flowers
Your flowers come to you fresh from our fields, and with your help they will continue to absorb the water and food that keeps them looking great as long as possible. Unlike typical grocery store bouquets that are often mishandled and short-lived because of it, there are big payoffs to treating your farm flowers well.
Take it from me, a reformed "bouquet neglecter": A few easy steps can help your cut flowers last longer and look their best. Every flower is different in how it behaves once harvested, but you can generally expect your flowers to last for 5-7 days when given the basic care below.
Feed me, please
Give your stems a 1-2" cut with sharp scissors or flower snips. This helps the flowers absorb water and nutrients by cutting away the stem portions that may be blocked by bacteria. Bacteria, which inevitably feeds on nutrients released from cut flower stems, is enemy #1.
Sprinkle a little flower food (part of the packet) into cool water, then get your freshly cut stems in right away. I know, I know. We're all in the habit of throwing away those damp little packets of flower food, but they are a lifeline for your flowers. Really. When you change your flowers' water, which I know you are going to do (see below) you can add a little more food if you have it.
Change my water
I've been as guilty as anyone of shoving a bouquet in the vase on my counter and not thinking about it again—until a slew of fallen petals around the base reminds me it's time for it to go. We can all do better. Lift your bouquet out of its vase every couple days, give the stems a quick 1" trim with sharp scissors, rinse out the vase, and replace the water and food.
While you're at it, remove any leaves that fall below the water line and any stems that have wilted or faded. As another flower farmer wrote: "Flowers that have been 'called home' will add bacteria to the water." Called home. He he he.
Clean my vase
If you aren't in the habit of washing your vases after you use them, please start now. Caring for cut flowers is largely about minimizing bacteria, and that green film at the bottom of your favorite vase isn't doing your bouquets any favors. Cleaning with regular soap and water is just fine.
Stay away from direct sunlight...
A la the 80s film Gremlins, picture your flowers screaming, "Bright light! Bright light!" Once flowers are harvested, sunlight only makes it harder for them to stay hydrated. Avoid the sunny spots in your home in favor of indirect light. (Avoid heat sources too, which are likewise hard on your flowers.)
...and the fruit bowl
Ripening fruits and veggies are not friends to cut flowers. The same ethylene gas that turns your banana that perfect shade of yellow spells death for your cut flowers.