Keep those pores open!
Or in this case the stem. It all starts with the cut. Using the right tool to make the cut could mean extending the life of the flower several days. You want your florist to be using a floral knife when cutting stems as it gives it a clean cut.
Think of the stem like a straw. If you use floral shears like you do to prune your bushes it is like chewing on the end of the straw. The straw is crushed at the end and the intake of liquid is reduced significantly.
2. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!!
How often do you hear, "Drink more water!" Well, here in Arizona you hear it at least 5 times a day even more in summer. When we first visited we stopped at a Forest Preserves visitors center in Sedona and there was a sign in the bathroom that read what color is your pee? And it had pictures. Dehydration is a big deal for humans and for flowers.
Not many people realize that when florist order flowers it can take 5-6 days from farm to florist. Why? Most flowers come from Central America or Asia. Flowers are cut, packaged, shipped to the airport, flown to America, diverted to customs, shipped to wholesaler, wholesaler then sorts and delivers to florists or florist has to pick up from wholesaler. If you are lucky, some wholesalers don't have warehouses and work directly with growers and ship directly to you. Also, if you are lucky, your flowers don't get stuck in customs.
By the time the flowers get to the florist they are damn thirsty. And this is where how they are cut comes into play. The cut needs to be clean and at an angle. The florist should then put it in a solution available to them that helps with the intake of water and then immediately put in a bucket of water. If not, a scab starts to form as soon as it is cut and the water intake will be like a sieve.
When you receive your flowers, add tap water and make sure to check your water levels every day and mist your flowers as well!!
3. Don't Touch your Face!!!
Well in the case of flowers, don't touch the petals! The cut flowers number 1 enemy is bacteria. Your nasty dirty hands are full of bacteria and are transferring them onto the flower. Also, petals are as fragile as hell. Every time you touch them or brush against them you are bruising them and damaging them.
Bacteria is everywhere!! Sorry germaphobes. When a florist receives flowers they remove all damaged leaves and petals as well as anything that would be emerged in water as it creates bacteria. This is even before the flowers are put in water. Those little packets of floral food you receive when you receive flowers, DON'T THROW THEM AWAY!!!!!! Florist use the same stuff on a bigger scale in the water they use to hydrate the flowers. The packet is floral food but it has more than that, it also has a bacteria killer in it as well. Your water in your flower arrangements should be changed every 3 days and when you do that, the flowers need to be recut at an angle and the floral additive needs to added as well. This will add days to the life of your arrangement.
4. Keep out of the Sun
The sun will age your skin and wrinkle your face. The same is with flowers. The sun will burn and dry out the petals will cause premature death. Flowers should be placed away from windows and away from vents.
Hopefully these hints will help keep your flowers fresher longer. And to let you know, the flowers at the grocery store do not follow this process. I have seen it. Some stores receive the flowers already in buckets and they just put them out as is. Others receive them like florist do and cut them with something similar to a paper cutter and put them in buckets without hydrating them. I have seen buckets without water and buckets with dead flowers.
I am not saying don't get flowers at the grocery store, I still do. Just be aware that you get what you pay for. And the ones I do buy, I go through the steps to hydrate them and condition them even if just allows 1 or 2 more days of life.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I will have Valentines Day flowers up soon. If you know me don't be looking for the traditional dozen roses because I won't have them :)