When you get given a bouquet or bunch of flowers then it’s easy to think that they’re already in mint condition to just be plonked straight into water and everything will be fine. This is not the case. A lot of these pointers will be obvious to you but it might just be helpful to have them all written down anyway.
Water: Flowers need water to stand in and survive in. This is an obvious one but sometimes it’s easy to forget that they have been in water in the shop or nursery that they came from and they are out of water for the time that they are getting to you – if they’re hand delivered from a shop, mail order flowers are slightly different – so they need to be restored to water as soon as they get to you. Even if you just put them in a mug in the sink until you have time to deal with them, you don’t want to go back to them after your party to discover that they’re already dead. When you have prepared them and they are in water, another thing that’s easy to forget is that they do actually drink the water. Therefore, especially in their earlier and keener days the water probably needs to be topped up, or replaced completely, on a daily basis so as to make sure the flowers don’t dry out.
Stems: For the time that they are out of the water, one assumes that the very ends of the stems would be the first bit to dry out and therefore it’s advisable to trim these stems before properly preparing them and putting them in water. I always cut mine at an angle, I don’t know if this is for some serious factual reason or just because that’s what I was told to do the first time I prepared flowers and it stuck. Either way, I’ve never seen any harm in it and it actually increases the surface area of the part of the flower that can suck in the water so it makes perfect sense to do it.
Leaves: Leaves take up unnecessary space and nutrients and while they do add to the aesthetic of the overall look of the flowers, they shouldn’t become the focus and when the ratio of leaf to flower is so rated in the leaves favour they can dominate the vase. After all, you didn’t buy a bunch of roses to look at the leaves. Therefore, before putting them in a vase, strip off some of the leaves. Not all of them, you don’t want your flowers to look naked, but some of the leaves along the length of the stem so that they end up looking fewer and more evenly spaced along it might be an idea that’s worth serious consideration.
Plant Food: This one’s a little contentious, some people say that the fertilisers make the flowers open up faster so that they can be enjoyed at their peak sooner whilst others reason that this surely means they die sooner because that early part of their life cycle was sped up. Ultimately the choice is yours. I never put it in, preferring to let them do their own thing in their own time but sometimes this means flowers don’t open up at all.
Hopefully, these tips will not be so obvious as to make you feel patronised and they might just prove to be useful nudges in the right direction, the next time it comes to making displaying your bouquet.