Caring for fresh cut flowers


Nothing makes a home look or feel more welcoming than a beautiful arrangement of fresh cut flowers. Here are a few tips to make sure your fresh flowers look lovelier and last longer.


  • Buy you flowers from a reputable outlet and choose blooms with firm petals and buds that show a hint of colour to ensure the flowers will fully develop and open.

  • Ensure the flowers are well wrapped for protection – and if they’ll be out of water for a while, ask that the stems be wrapped with damp paper.

  • Use thoroughly clean vases and containers – bacteria kills flowers.

  • Use cut flower food – this contains the correct ingredients to feed the flowers properly, keeps bacteria at bay, encourages buds to open and lengthens the life of the flowers.

  • Cut stems at an angle. This gives the stem a bigger area from which to draw water and prevents it from resting flat on the bottom of the vase and sealing itself.

  • Don’t smash the stems or use blunt scissors as this inhibits water uptake and causes bacteria to multiply more quickly and over a larger area. It also causes the flower undue stress, which will shorten its life.

  • Use lukewarm water – there’s less oxygen in it which helps prevent air bubbles in the stem that will block water uptake. Lukewarm water can also encourage some flowers to open up. The only exceptions are certain spring flowers such as daffodils and tulips, which prefer cold water.

  • Don’t place flowers in a draught as it will chill the flowers. Direct sunlight or over-warm central heating should be avoided as this encourages bacteria to breed.

  • Don’t mix daffodils or narcissi with other cut flowers. When cut they emit latex from their stems, which shortens the life of other flowers. Arrange daffodils alone in vases or add special bulb cut flower food that makes them safe to mix with other flowers. You can also place them in a bucket of water for at least 12 hours on their own, and then arrange with other flowers, making sure you don’t cut the stem again.

  • Don’t place arrangements near a bowl of fruit. Ripening fruit releases tiny amounts of ethylene gas, which prematurely ages flowers. Dying flowers do the same so always remove them from the vase.

  • Top up the water and add fresh flower food in the right proportion every few days.

  • Forget putting copper coins, lemonade, bleach or aspirin in the water. These popular tricks don’t actually work nor do they feed your flowers adequately.

Sandra Kaminski