Most of us love the extra something cut flowers add to our lives. They brighten up any space while adding life to an otherwise quiet space. Still, many of us think that no matter what, cut flowers die too soon and that there’s nothing you can do to keep a bouquet of flowers in a vase fresh for the long haul.
So here’s the thing: keeping cut flowers fresh has more to do with the quality of your vase water than you think. It’s not enough to fill it up in the sink one time and call it a day.
To get you up to speed, here is a little more about the kind of water that makes or breaks a beautiful Bouq.
We think about water quality when it comes to drinking the stuff, but many of us aren’t extending the same courtesy to our cut flowers. Cut flowers need purified water for long-lasting vibrancy. As such, most tap water isn’t exactly ideal. Tap water contains trace minerals like sodium–which makes water soft (bad news for carnations and roses), or fluoride which is great for teeth, but harmful to gladiolas and gerbera daisies.
In addition to specific bad components in tap water, drinking water varies in mineral content based on where you live–many cities have mineral-rich water that will gunk up flower stems, which limits water uptake. These dissolved minerals will block the flower stems and prevent water uptake.
Consider the pH
Chances are you don’t know much about your water quality aside from whether or not it tastes good. A smart way to ensure you’re giving your blooms the very best is to use bottled water or filtered water from your Brita pitcher. And if you want to know whether what comes from your tap is safe, try testing on your own with pH strips.
As a point of reference, the pH scale ranges from 1 (acid) to 14 (alkaline), with a seven being neutral. Ideally, your water should be slightly acidic. We’re talking between a 3.0 and a 4.5.
Most tap water hovers in the neutral range, but you can add some acidity by using a flower preservative or even a little lemon juice. The reason acidity matters is that flower stems more readily slurp up acidic water–which leads to hydrated, healthy-looking blooms– like how you drink water to keep your skin looking supple.
Don’t Forget About Your Little Preservative Packet
There are three primary ingredients found in your average floral preservative–all working together to extend the life of that lovely arrangement.
These packets (and you can make your own, by the way), include a sugar, which functions as food for the flower, as well as a biocide (like bleach), which prevents bacteria and fungi from growing inside the vase. Finally, you’ll need an acidifier, like citric acid, which reduces the pH of the water.
Sometimes, these packets include some extra elements like plant hormones, which prolong the life of your cut flowers and improve the uptake of water.
Why Cleanliness Matters
Bacteria, fungi, and plant debris in vase water can gunk up the flower stems, preventing flowers from slurping that H2O. Most tap water isn’t teeming with bacteria and fungi–you can rest easy that you’re not downing a bunch of filth each time you hydrate. But, bacteria and fungi do go nuts when you add that sweet organic matter into the mix (like stems and stray petals.)
With that in mind, you’ll want to start off with a blank canvas, a freshly washed and sanitized vase. For best results, wash with bleach. To extend the life of your flowers, be sure to add a flower preservative and replace the water every couple of days.
Hot or Cold Vase Water?
In case you’re wondering, yes, temperature does matter to flowers. Obviously, pouring boiling water on your blooms won’t do them any favors but warm water will help tightly wound buds open up a bit more.
If you want to keep them as is for as long as possible, bring on the ice cubes.
Finally, it pays to change your water every day. While you don’t need to be a real stickler about replacing your water like clockwork, you’ll get the best results from dumping dusty water with burgeoning bacteria.
Got any tips of your own for keeping your Bouqs fresh for the long haul? Let us know in the comments.Shop All