Keeping Cut Flowers Fresh

Probably the greatest thing about having a gorgeous flower garden at home, is bringing cut flowers inside and knowing you’ve grown them yourself brings even more satisfaction.

If you enjoy having flowers inside, it is a good idea to add some of your favourite cut flower varieties into your garden plan, giving some thought to a seasonal approach. By keeping seasonality in mind, you will be able to have flowers in your home year round. Cheerful fresh cut flowers can help keep the spirits up during the dull winter months.

It is important to feed your plants to help keep them healthy and producing as many flowers as possible. Apply a long-term controlled release fertiliser granule in early spring, as this will provide the base nutrition your plants will need right through the growing season until the end of autumn.

Once you are ready to start cutting your flowers, there are a few tips that can help extend the vase life of your flowers:

  • Use a clean vase. We advise that you wash your vase after each use to remove dust and other contaminants which may effect water hygiene.
  • Flower stems can develop “air locks” if they are left out of water too long. Minor air locks can also develop if there is too much oxygen in the vase water – reducing the ability of the stem to take up water. The best way to reduce this risk is to boil the water first then let it cool to lukewarm before use.
  • Use a cut flower food/conditioner. You can purchase ready made sachets or you can make your own. There are three ingredients in the mix:
    • Citric Acid or Lemon juice – this helps lower the PH of the water which helps the flowers stay vibrant and the stems absorb water.
    • Sucrose sugar in the water replaces the flowers food source they lose once cut from the plant helping them stay healthy and last longer.
    • Sodium Hypochlorite (common household bleach) which is an anti – microbial agent which prevents the build up of bacteria and mould in the water (which can make the water cloudy and cause the flower stems to rot).

To create your own cut flower food: 2 x Tablespoons of citric acid or lemon juice, 1 x Tablespoon of sugar and ½ a teaspoon of bleach per litre of water.

So now for the cutting of the flowers! Harvest them in the cool of the morning or evening rather than during the heat of the day, make sure to use a sharp pair of by-pass secateurs to cut your desired flowers. Once inside, lay them on a chopping board and re-cut the bottom at a 45 degree angle with a sharp knife, this causes less damage to the stem and helps the take up water, then remove any foliage or thorns that would be below the water level. Replace the water and food/conditioner every 4 or 5 days, trimming approximately 1cm off the bottom of the stems.

Position the vase in good light but not in hot direct sunlight and in warm conditions, mist the flowers once or twice a day.