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Flower Care 101

Flower processing tips

Follow these easy steps to keep your florals looking sharp!

If you have just purchased some DIY box florals or picked up some lovely bunches at the market, here are the steps every florist follows to help blooms flourish and be at their best.

STEP ONE: HYDRATE
Flowers always look a little jet-lagged on arrival but not to fear!  Remove leaves from the lower portions of stems (anything that will be below the water line), cut off 1-2" of stems from the bottom at a 45 degree angle with clean sharp scissors and rest them in a clean bucket of cool – lukewarm water.  If they are roses, leave the cardboard wrapping on during this time. Let them settle in for 1 – 2 hrs. After a few hours, remove the wrapping.

STEP TWO: FLOWER PREP
Once flowers had a chance to rehydrate, you can move them to smaller containers so you can work with them.  Collect and clean as many containers or vases needed.  Fill them 1/4 - 1/3 full with clean water.  You can add flower food at this time.

Separate your florals into smaller bunches so individual blooms have space to open their petals and breathe.  Don’t crowd them into one container.. flowers like their personal space. At this time, you can cut your stems to the sizes you’d like. (I err on keeping them a little on the longer until I use them for my projects).

Give them another snip before putting them into their new containers. Make sure your containers are no more than 2/3 the height of your blooms.  Delicate flowers might need their own little vase or cup, too.

STEP THREE: ARRANGE!
Now you can start using your flowers to make your bouquets, arrangements and other floral projects.  When transferring them into a new container, always give them a fresh cut so they can drink easily.

STEP FOUR: MAINTENANCE
To have your flowers last as long as possible, keep your flowers out of direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. Change the water every other day and if possible, do a fresh cut on your stems when you place them back in. Enjoy!

Tips & Tricks

  • See how many times the word, “clean” was used in this post?  Bacteria is death to flowers so your water and your containers need to be spotless!  Professional florists scrub, bleach, sterilize, and do all sorts of things to buckets to keep them as bacteria-unfriendly as possible. Dirty water and vases will kill your flowers quickly.
  • Flower food is great to use, it will give your flowers a little bit of extra “oomph” but it will not make up for dirty water.
  • Cutting stems with a floral knife will prevent the possibility of crushing the stems, which then prevents the stem from intaking water properly.  But always at a 45 degree angle.  If you use floral shears or clippers, make sure they are as sharp as possible for the cleanest cut.
  • Don’t use thorn strippers to de-thorn your roses! They tear away at the outer covering of the stems which then shortens their vase life. Use your shears and trim off just the tips.  It’s time consuming, I know, but your roses will thank you.