How to make your Christmas flowers last longer

For most of us Christmas is a particularly busy day and so are the days (or even weeks) leading up to this festive holiday.  With so much to do from decorating and cooking to cleaning and all the other odds and ends to make this occasion extra special.  When it comes to shopping for flowers, it’s not always easy or even possible to get to your local florist.  Even if you do, they might not have everything you need in stock.  The best thing to do is to order flowers in advance from your online florist or even your local flower shop.  This way, you know that you will get what you want for the holidays.  Of course, florists are probably not open on Christmas day and some might not even be open on Christmas Eve.  If you are worried about keeping your fresh flowers in tact until the Christmas celebrations are done, here are some easy tips to keep them in the best possible shape:

Step 1: If you order cut flowers that are already arranged in a vase, you will need to remove them from the vase and trim each stem.  Don’t forget to trim the stems at an angle in order to create a larger surface area for absorption.  If your flowers are able to absorb plenty of water and nutrients, they will last longer.  Also, if you trim the stems straight and not at an angle, they could end up resting flat on the bottom of the vase which will restrict absorption.

Step 2: Ensure that all the leaves that might find themselves below the water line in the vase are removed.  The less plant material in the water, the better.  This is because bacteria grows on plant surfaces and the water makes for the perfect environment.

Step 3: On the topic of bacteria growth, it is best to add only enough water to cover the bottom portion of the flower stems.  Bacteria attaches itself to any plant material below the water line so less water means that you will limit their surface area for growth.  Just make sure that the bottom parts of the stems remain submerged.  You should also use room temperature water and remember that your tap water in the winter months is quite cold.  By placing your flowers in such cold water can give them quite a shock so make sure to warm the water up just a little bit before introducing your flowers.

Step 4: Before placing your flowers in the vase, you should add a flower preservative.  Most of the time, when you receive a flower delivery, the florist will include a package of flower preserve.  These preservatives include nutrients for the flowers and they also contain various ingredients that help slow down bacteria growth.  Remember to always follow the instructions on the package.  Adding too much of the preservative can do more harm than good.  On the other hand, if you don’t add enough, it won’t have the desired effect.

Step 5: When you place your arrangement on display, make sure that you keep it away from fire places, heaters and areas where it might be affected by a draught.  Extreme heat and wind can really damage your flowers so make sure that you protect them from such elements.  You should also keep in mind that your windows are particularly cold in the winter and you should not allow your flowers or foliage to have direct contact with the cold glass.

Step 6: Remember to change the water in the vase regularly and, when you do, you must add more flower preservative too.  Flower preservatives help slow down the growth of bacteria but they cannot completely prevent it.  This is why you will need to change the water, clean the vase and give your flowers a trim every few days.  Bacteria likes to make the base of the flower stems their home and, in doing so, they obstruct absorption.  This is why it’s so important to cut the stems and create a fresh clean surface for absorption.

For anyone living in the Southern Hemisphere, you will be fortunate enough to be celebrating Christmas during the warmer months of the year.  In this case, you should keep your flowers nice and cool, away from direct sunlight and follow the steps mentioned above for best results.  If you have an arrangement set in floral foam, it’s difficult to remove each stem, trim it and put it back.  You can, however, still add room temperature water with floral preservatives mixed in.  Floral foam needs to be kept moist at all times.