Flower Processing 101: Florist Secrets For Keeping Flowers Fresher Longer

If you are seeking tips on how to keep flowers fresher longer, this article will share florist secrets to extend the life of cut flowers significantly. What you do to the flowers before even thinking of arranging them into centerpieces, bouquets or arrangements makes a big difference in the life expectancy of the bouquet.

First of all, you need to process your flowers as soon as you get them home. Start with fussier flowers such as roses and gerberas, and then proceed with all other flowers, and keep the foliages for last. Make sure that the containers you use to put your flowers in are immaculately clean. To clean them, use a solution of 1/3 bleach, a few drops of dish soap and the rest water.

What you will need
* Buckets or vases to put flowers in
* Plastic tub
* Floral (garden) shears
* Rubber gloves
* Flower food (small packages-1 per vase)
* Javex

Step One
Prepare your buckets, vases or containers with a solution of water and flower food. Follow the instructions on the food package to mix the proper ratio. As a guide, a little flower food package is good for a medium to large vase. Room temperature water is best.

Step Two
Remove all the leaves on the lower half of the stems: this will prevent molding and contamination. Use thick rubber gloves and glide your hand gently down the stem. This trick will work on most flowers; however, some flowers may require that you cut off leaves and thick thorns with shears.

Step Three
Disinfect your shears by putting a little bit of Javex on a cloth or paper towel and by wiping your shears with it.

Step Four
Cut flowers under water. The easiest way to cut flowers underwater in a home setting is to either use a plastic tub or the kitchen sink. Make sure your sink or tub of water is super clean by cleaning it with a mix of bleach and dish soap and water. Fill the tub with water, and then use floral (garden) shears to cut the bottom of the stem underwater. Cut at least 2 inches (5cm) off the bottom on an angle to help increase water conduction up the flower stem. Do not use scissors since these will damage the vital capillaries of the stem cells and cause early death.

Step Five
Once your flowers are cut (processed), place them in your prepared vases or buckets. Check and replenish the water every two days when necessary.

Flower Fact
Underwater cutting pulls water immediately up into the flower stem and then to the flower head. This helps to eliminate air blockage and prevents bent necks. The stem is the lifeline of the flower. When floral capillaries become blocked, this slows uptake of water and stresses out the flowers.