One of the less pleasurable aspects of the holidays is the process of taking down the decorations and packing everything away. One way to extend the fond memories, however, is to keep your holiday flowers fresh and attractive for an extended period of time. With just a little bit of extra attention, you can prolong your enjoyment of these special flowers longer than you might imagine.
If you want to get the longest possible time to display and appreciate your holiday flowers, the care you give them starts from the moment they enter your home. In fact, if you purchase them at a florist yourself, take care from the moment you walk out of the store. Make the florist your last stop, and get the flowers home and in an appropriately-sized vase as soon as possible.
Before the stems go into the vase, trim them the right length at an angle. This eliminates the dead growth on the end and increases the capillary action to draw water to the bloom. Add a special flower extender that you pick up from the florist to the water. If they didn’t give you any, use an aspirin and stir it up. This adds acidity to help the flowers stay fresh. When your arrangement is just how you want it, place it where it won’t be in direct sunlight or heat, avoiding things like vents. Also, keep them off the television or away from the overhead fans.
Check the flowers daily, and keep the water levels up. Pick away any dried petals and leaves and adjust your arrangement accordingly. By day three or four you may want to discard withered flowers and, if the bouquet has gotten noticeably smaller, move it to a smaller vase to keep the bouquet looking full. This is especially important if you had a lot of buds in the original flowers that have fully bloomed. If you change vases, trim the stems to fit it and allow new cells and veins contact with the freshly-replaced water.
This care can extend the life of live flowers from four to seven days. If you’re serious about getting as much life out of your flowers as possible, experiment with a flower food made from one part lemon-lime soda (not diet) to three parts water. A ¼ teaspoon of household bleach will help fight fungus growth.
When you’ve lost enough of the flowers that the bouquet doesn’t quite look right, consider pulling the more beautiful stems out and placing them in single flower vases, or even setting the blooms afloat in an attractive cup and saucer.