I love fresh flowers at home, over the years I’ve made a ritual of going to the wholesale market twice a month and picking up flowers for my home. I love how they instantly cheer up any space.
Having said that, I live in Mumbai which is either hot or humid all round the year and constantly struggle to keep my flowers happy. I have tried a variety of flower potions- from readymade flower food to paracetamol, apple cider vinegar and concoctions with soda and sugar. Yet, they almost always manage to die within a few days. For someone who doesn’t have too much time to spend at home, I find it very tough to balance their over-blooming and come home very often to dead flowers right before a party at home.
I’ve discovered the trick to make your flowers last longer has more to do with what happens before you put them in a vase and have made my own fool proof mantra of making them last longer.
SHOP IN THE MORNING:
Like most of us, flowers in the wholesale markets are fresher in the morning. Even if you buy from a local store down your lane, buy in the morning when the new stock arrives. By the afternoon, the flowers have been out for too long and have been manhandled by customers as well as the weather.
BUY THE FITTEST:
I always do a thorough check of each stem before I purchase it. The easiest way is to touch the heads of the flowers- flowers, like breasts should be firm. The limp ones don’t last more than a few days. When buying for home, I also prefer buying those that are just about to bloom- especially when buying lilies and roses. They take a few days to bloom and then last a full week- this way you can see all the phases of the flower. Most often, we buy flowers in full bloom and watch them die over the course of a few days.
LOOK AFTER THE STEM:
The health of a flower can most easily be judged by the bottom of its stem. Cut your stems sideways- to ensure they drink more water. Once every few days, check on the stems and check for brown tips. Brown stem tips indicate that the flower can’t absorb more water- keep trimming them to make your flowers last longer. When buying for the week, I usually work with taller stems in vases and trim them to the ideal length over the course of the week.
I’m guilty of this myself. I think it has more to do with balance than anything else, but I would fill 3/4th of a vase with water and then place flowers in it. The truth is, flower stems do not need that much water. Fill your vase with 1/3rd or less water, just enough to cover the base of the stems by a few inches and you’re good. Also make sure no leaves are touching the water- trim them should you need to- leaves are the first to rot, especially when they’re in water and that’s what leads to the early demise of your flowers.
The two greatest enemies of your flowers are direct sunlight and a draft of wind. If you like your flowers by the window, draw the curtains during the day and protect them from the harsh light. Love your flowers, keep them in a cool dry place and away from fans. Move your vases to the corners of the room if you use fans regularly.
I’ve also realized that flowers in dark colored vases last longer since the light that reaches the vase is diffused.
Lastly, check on them. Pruning, trimming, refilling their water are sometimes all they take to last longer.
Have other hacks that help you keep your flower life longer? I’d love to hear them and see photos of your flowers at home.
Hand model: Aditi Dayal
Photo: DNM at DNC HQ