Prolong the Life of your Floral Arrangement

Valentine’s day is right around the corner and the florists here at Cross Creek are hard at work preparing arrangements. A rainbow of roses, carnations, and lilies rush out our doors to be delivered to lovers, friends, and family all across Richmond. If you’ve ever received a floral arrangement, you know the surprise and joy of opening your front door to the sight of colorful blossoms and a wave of sweet fragrance. As you enjoy your flowers in the following days, you’ll eventually notice shriveled and browning foliage, wilted stems, and deflated-looking buds. Although the demise of each floral arrangement is inevitable, there’s a few tips to extend the life of your flowers and keep them looking fresh for as long as possible. Here’s the best-kept secrets from our floral experts here at Cross Creek. 

Place your arrangement in the optimal spot 

Direct sunlight and excessive heat accelerate the decay of your flowers. All plants lose moisture in a process called transpiration, which is similar to human sweating in that the plant “sweats” to regulate its own temperature. If your cut flowers are subjected to high temperatures and direct light, they lose moisture more rapidly than they can take up new water through their roots; this results in premature wilting. Make sure to place your arrangement away from windows, vents, and other sources of light and heat. Your flowers face one more unlikely threat – your fruit bowl. Ripening fruit produces a gas called ethylene which can hasten aging in nearby plants and flowers, so take care to keep your flowers far away from ripening produce in the kitchen.

Keep your water fresh 

As the flowers in your arrangement age, bacteria builds up in the vase which can create cloudy water and an unpleasant smell. Refresh your arrangement every two or three days with lukewarm water and remove any floating debris. To avoid disturbing the floral design, you can gently tip your arrangement over the sink and let the water drain out before carefully refilling your vase. Each time you replenish the water, make a fresh angled cut at the end of each stem so they can quickly absorb the new moisture. 

Feed your flowers

Effective floral preservative provides nutrients, prevents bacteria, and lowers the PH of the water so the plant can more easily wick up moisture. You can make your own floral preservative by mixing 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1 teaspoon of household bleach, and 2 teaspoons of lemon or lime juice per one quart of water. The sugar nourishes the flowers while the bleach kills bacteria in the vase and citrus juice acidifies the water. 

It’s easy to prolong the life of valentine’s day flowers when you know the right steps to take. With a little extra attention, the joy and excitement of receiving your arrangement can last long beyond the holiday. 

Emilie Erbland Feb 11th, 2021

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