Fresh Cut Flower Care & Handling

Are you one of the flower lovers who love to see them nicely arranged together or you are one of those who enjoy arranging them in unique and stylish floral arrangements? The gorgeous blooms are definitely inspiring. Whether you give a flower bouquet or you receive one from a special person, the bouquet is sure to brighten up your day, and seeing the stunning blooms wilt and dry can be heartbreaking.

Fresh cut flowers, although they tend to wilt after a while, can last in your home for a couple of weeks. You get to enjoy the beautiful blooms and its distinct scents, as well as the benefits that flowers provide to your health. With the proper way of caring for and handling fresh cut flowers, you can have them in pots at spots inside your home for the longest time possible. Here’s how to care for and handle fresh cut flowers after receiving them in bouquets or in flower arrangements:

 

·        Ensure the Quality of Water

The quality of the water to use on the flower vase is one important factor to ensure the life, freshness, and durability of the fresh cut flowers. They need clean water in order to stay healthy and fresh. All the nutrients that they need to survive another week or two can only be supplied through the water. If you are using tap water, you may need to use a filtration system to filter the water first, or better yet, give your fresh cut flowers distilled and pure water. Tap water usually contains different kinds of minerals, such as sodium, fluoride, and chlorine that are harmful to the flowers.

One way to ensure that you are giving your fresh cut flowers high-quality water is by using a water tester. You can avail the service of a water treatment company for a small amount of money for this service. It will allow you to determine whether the pH level of the tap water you have at home is too high or too low, and to know the level of the water’s TDS or total dissolved solids. In addition, you can also use distilled water.

The level of acidity and alkalinity of the water is commonly referred to as the pH level. Acidity is measured at pH 1 and alkalinity at pH 14. For fresh-cut flowers, the water should be slightly acid with a pH level of 30 up to 4.5. To use tap water, which is neutral in terms of acidity level, adding floral preservative increases the acidity. The stems of the flowers are more absorbent of acidic water than alkaline water.

On the other hand, the measurement of the salinity level is the TDS level or total dissolved solid level. Most of the tap water contains dissolved solids like calcium, magnesium, sodium, sulfates, and chlorides. These solids are measured in ppm or parts per million. To keep fresh cut water healthy and vibrant, the TDS level of the water should be lower than 200 ppm.

 

·        Keep It Clean

From the flower vase to the water to the surface of the leaves and flowers, the fresh cut flowers should be clean and free of bacteria buildup and germs. Water gets dirty after a few days due to dust, fallen leaves, germs, bacteria, and fungi. The flower vase should be clean and disinfected before using it. If you plan to use floral preservatives, it is best to use one that has biocide to help fight off bacteria buildup and fungi attack.

If water is dirty, replenish it with fresh and clean water. But before you do that, make sure that you clean the vase or container first. You can use chlorine to sterilize the vase. Fresh-cut flowers tend to last longer in clean vases with pure water.

 

·        Treat Flowers with Floral Preservatives

Most of the floral food and preservatives, whether it is labeled commercial food or preservative, contains the same ingredients and do the same function. A floral food or preservative has three major ingredients, such as sugar, biocide, and acidifier. These primary ingredients are essential to the health and nourishment of fresh cut flowers. They help extend the life and freshness of the flowers in a flower vase.

These floral food and preservatives also contain secondary ingredients, such as plant hormones and wetting agents. Plant hormones help flowers maintain their quality, freshness, and vibrant color, while the wetting agent helps the stems absorb water and nutrients better.

To increase the vase life of your fresh cut flowers, it is best to provide them with properly concentrated floral food and preservative solution.

 

·        Apply Home Remedy Flower Care

Commercialized flower preservatives are effective on fresh cut flowers, and they are inexpensive, too. All you need to do is to mix them to a correct concentration solution, or as recommended by the florist. In feeding the flowers, it is a good thing to know that there are several efficient home remedies to take advantage of. Although commercial floral food and preservatives are available at the flower shops for an affordable price, there are some materials and supplies at home that can be used for the flowers.

If you prefer home remedy for flower care and treatment, here’s how to make an effective solution for your fresh cut flowers:

Add 12 ounces of lemon-lime soft drinks with one gallon of water for floral food. This solution provides the needed citric acid in water to keep the fresh cut flowers healthy and vibrant. Also, the sugar from the beverage provides food and nourishment for the flowers. To fight off germs and bacteria buildup, you can also add one tablespoon of chlorine to the one gallon-solution.

 

How to Hydrate and Condition Your Fresh Cut Flowers:

Care and treatment are vital to keeping your fresh cut flowers long-lasting and beautiful.

Step 1: Remove dead and wilted leaves.

Dead and wilted leaves will soon fall off from the stems and contaminate the water in the vase. To prevent it, it is best to remove the leaves. Dead leaves on the water is an ideal breeding ground for bacteria, germs, and fungi infection As the water gets dirty, the health and freshness of the flowers are also affected.

To remove the leaves from the stem, take extra care by pulling one leaf gently at a time so that the skin of the stem will not be scraped off. There are tools, as well, that can be used to remove the leaves carefully without damaging or hurting the stem. According to the florist, it is also best to use a pair of soft, sturdy gloves when handling plants, especially those with thorns and hard stems.

Step 2: Rehydrate the flowers.

The fresh-cut flowers need proper hydration. The best way to rehydrate the blooms is by soaking the end of the stem in warm water. Soaking is done by cutting the bottom edge at an angle using a sharp, clean knife. Cutting the edge allows the vessels of the stem to absorb water more efficiently. Hold the bottom of the stems and soak them in warm water for a couple of minutes. After soaking, place the flowers to a clean flower vase half-filled with water and floral food solution.

For extra care, the experts say that it is not ideal to use scissors or shears to cut the stems of the flowers because they only squeeze the stems and damage the xylem.

Step 3: Let the flowers absorb the floral solution prior to arrangements.

Before arranging the flowers into a gorgeous design, give it two hours to sit still in the floral solution. Allow the flowers to absorb the preservatives to help the blooms stay fresh for a long while and to maintain its bright color. Before arranging the flowers or before transferring them to cooler storage, make sure that the flowers are all set in and well-nourished with the solution. Two hours would be enough, but there are several types of flowers that need more time to rehydrate.

Step 4: Rinse the stems of the flowers.

After a few days, or when the water in the flower vase gets dirty, your fresh cut flowers need rinsing. You have to do it carefully so that the blooms will stay intact. Hold the stems firmly but gently while rinsing them in water. Before you return the flowers into its vase, see to it that the vase is clean and the water is replenished with clean water.

 

How to Refrigerate and Humidify Your Fresh Cut Flowers

In handling fresh cut flowers, proper refrigeration is also important and necessary. Refrigeration provides the kind of temperature ideal for the flowers. If you want to prolong the life of the cut flowers, store it in a place with proper refrigeration and moisture. The low temperature and humidity decrease dryness of flowers. However, not all fresh-cut blooms benefit from this. Some flowers get easily damaged and wilted because of refrigeration and humidity.

On the other hand, flower bouquets and flower arrangements at room temperature may last for weeks, too, but you have to put them away from machines and devices that emit heat and from direct sunlight exposure. In addition, you also have to put the fresh blooms from ripe fruits and vegetables. If they are in a room with an air conditioning system, it may extend the vase life of the flowers.

 

Ethylene on Fresh Flowers

Ethylene is a naturally-produced type of gas that fresh flowers, ripe fruits, and vegetables emit in the air. It is also produced when the hydrocarbon is burned during tobacco smoking and when a vehicle is running.

This type of gas is known to affect the quality and freshness of your fresh cut flowers. But that depends on the level of sensitivity of the type of flowers towards the ethylene gas. Some flowers are highly sensitive to ethylene while some blooms can tolerate the gas.

Those flowers that are highly sensitive to ethylene get dry and wilted easily. The colors also fade out fast and the blossoming buds drop prematurely. To avoid this effect on your fresh cut flowers, you may want to remove and transfer them into a place that is far from any source of heat, smoke, and ethylene-emitting fruits and vegetables. If some leaves are drying, wilting, or dying, it is best to remove them from the stem immediately. Bacteria and germs on the vase also affect the flowers.

 

How to Cut Flowers from Your Garden:

Everyone who loves flowers also loves flower arranging and designing, especially if the flowers are harvested directly from the garden. If you cut fresh flowers from your garden, you need to handle them with care. Whether fresh cut flowers are commercially grown in the garden, the same level of care is required in handling flowers. Here are some additional tips and guidelines on how to cut flowers from your garden for beautiful flower arrangements:

When harvesting flowers from the garden, it is important to consider the time of the day. It is not advisable to cut flowers in the daytime because the heat is high and the flowers are stressed. The best time to cut flowers is early in the morning or late in the evening when the temperature is low and the flowers are moisturized. The flowers also contain a high level of carbohydrates.

To cut the flowers, proper use of tools is necessary. You will need a pair of shears and a bucket of water. After cutting the flowers from their parent plant, you will need to place them in a pail of water. When cutting is completed, process the flowers immediately by cutting the edge of the stem at an angle using a sharp knife and allow the flowers to rehydrate for a couple of hours. After this, the flowers will need additional floral food to preserve its freshness and quality before using them for stunning floral arrangements and bouquets.

Compared to commercially grown flowers, such as hybrid Roses, your garden blooms may not last long. If you see your fresh cut flowers last only for a short while, do not feel down and disappointed because this is but normal. Commercially grown flowers are intentionally bred to be long-lasting. If you will notice, the flowers that are scented the most are the flowers that will also wilt fast.

 

Emergency Care on Fresh Cut Flowers:

After receiving a bouquet of flowers or a decorative floral arrangement, you are probably amazed at its beauty. But on the following day, you noticed that the flowers become droopy and wilted. If this is the case, don’t stress out and panic. There are emergency care tips to apply to your wilting flowers.

Step 1: Do something now.

Don’t wait for another hour. If you see the flowers wilting, it means that they need water urgently. Your blooms will easily recover from this if you act immediately.

Step 2: Remove flowers away from heat.

If you see the flowers droop and dry, it means that there is a source of heat affecting it. You may need to remove the flowers away from the heater or from direct sunlight exposure. Too much heat reduces the flowers’ moisture, causing them to be thirsty and dry.

Step 3: Treat stem blockage.

Air bubbles and solid minerals in the water cause blocking of stems, thus the flowers become droopy and dry. Bacteria and fungi also cause the blocking of the stem. The best way to treat stem blockage is to soak the stems in warm water and clean the stems to remove the dirt, minerals, and bacteria buildup.

Step 4: Rinse the flower stems.

If you see your flowers starting to wilt, give them a thorough rinse in the sink. You will need to hold all the flowers and lift them up together away from the vase. Rinse the bottom part of the stem in running water to remove the dirt and any leftover floral food solution.

Step 5: Remove the water and clean the vase.

If the water in the flower vase is already cloudy, it is time to throw the water and replenish it with clean and pure water. Clean the flower vase, too, using water and bleach solution.

Step 6: Replenish with clean water.

Distilled water or deionized water is the type of water ideal for the flower vase. Tap water may contain a high amount of minerals that can be harmful to fresh-cut flowers.

Step 7: Add flower food and preservatives.

Don’t forget to add the needed floral food and preservatives to the water. Make sure that you use only the amount recommended depending on the size of the flowers and on the quantity of the flowers.

Step 8: Put all the flowers back to its vase.

When the flower vase is already half-filled with water and floral food solution, you can put the flowers back to the flower vase.

Step 9: Cut the stem one by one.

After cleaning the stems, you will need to cut them one by one. Remove one stem from the flower arrangement, cut at an angle at the bottom edge, soak in warm water, and put it back to the arrangement.

Step 10: Arrange the flowers.

Now that you have revived the flowers from drying, it’s time to arrange them back to their original design or customize the design of the flower arrangement according to your style.

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