‘Common mistakes’ people make caring for cut flowers in vases

M&S demonstrates how to trim a new flower bouquet

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Cut flowers can look beautiful on a dining room table, sideboard or coffee table, however, they don’t always last as long as people hope. After a couple of days, cut flowers can start to wilt and turn brown, despite your best efforts to care for them.

Luckily, the experts at GardeningExpress.co.uk have shared their advice on how to provide the proper care for cut flowers.

Cut flowers are popular decorative pieces to have in the home and with the right care and attention, they can last for seven to 12 days.

“Common mistakes” when looking after cut flowers include making blunt cuts and not cleaning the vase regularly.

Chris Bonnett, founder of GardeningExpress said: “Cut flowers look beautiful in the home, they’re great for adding extra colour and character into any room. They’re also known to relieve anxiety and stress.

“A lot of people aren’t aware of how to care for their flowers properly which means they don’t get to enjoy them for long enough.

“Factors like the way we cut the flowers, the type of vase we keep them in and the temperature of the room that we keep them in all make such a huge difference in the longevity of your flowers.”

Here are Chris’ tips for looking after cut flowers:

Choose the right vase

The right vase can determine how long flowers stay fresh. Choosing the right vase depends on the type of flowers too.

Heavier flower arrangements should be kept in a short vase and should have short stems because this will give the flowers more room as they bloom.

A lighter selection of flowers can be placed in a taller vase as they’ll take up less room as they grow.

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Use flower food

Most cut flowers come with a packet of flower food which some people chuck away. Fill the vase with water and add the sachet to the water.

If flowers don’t come with flower food, gardeners can make their own at home. To do this, “mix together two tablespoons of lemon juice, one tablespoon of sugar and half a teaspoon of bleach for every litre of water”.

Chris added: “This will slow down bacteria growth and keep flowers fresh for longer.”

Keep the flowers away from heat

Putting cut flowers near the sun isn’t best for their growth, instead, put them in a cooler environment.

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Avoid keeping cut flowers anywhere in the home that gets too warm and humid.

Change water every other day

Bacteria thrive in stale water so it’s important to change the water around every other day to keep the water fresh and get the most out of the flowers.

Don’t forget to wash the vase

Each time the water is changed, give the vase a really good clean with warm soapy water.

Don’t forget to give it a good rinse to ensure all of the soapy residue has been removed before putting the flowers back in.

Cut flowers properly

Chris said: “One of the biggest mistakes people make is not cutting stems properly. Make sure you have a sharp knife or secateurs and cut the stem at a 45-degree angle each time you replace the water in the vase.

“This angle will provide the stem with the largest surface area possible, meaning it can absorb more water.”

Clean up foliage below water level

It’s important to keep the water in a vase clean so clean up any foliage that is on the stems below water level. Leaving foliage in the water could cause it to rot which will harm the flowers.

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