The largest complaint I hear from new customers is that “flowers don’t last” I am a firm believer that the first impression is a lasting impression and that quality should be first & foremost.
I’m in a business where nature has a way of doing what it wants, and sometime we can’t always tell if it’s been raining in California and the stock is saturated and going to mold really fast. Or the lilies were cut in South America before they were ready, and the pods just wither & die instead of blooming beautiful like they should. As florists we do our best to keep a watchful eye and only sell the very best quality, but nature can fool even us sometimes! I’ve learned to tell even by feel sometimes. Everyone in the shop laughs at me & calls me the flower whisperer, but I swear I can tell if a lily or a hydrangea is good just by the way it feels when I open the box.
Hydration and keeping the cold chain are two of the most important aspects to flower longevity that a flower shop has the responsibility to carry out. I used to work with a gal who always had her flowers in a bucket at her design station, and it used to bother me because for every day that a flower is out of the cooler sitting in a bucket on the floor it is one less day the customer gets to enjoy it’s beauty. This is why grocery store flowers don’t always last very long. If a flower has a 7 day lifespan and 5 of it’s days are spent sitting on the floor in a bucket, when you buy it, you have 2 days left to enjoy it. When flowers are kept at 35-40 degrees, it puts them into a type of suspended animation, kind of like a dormancy. So long as they are dormant, they aren’t decaying. Once a flower is cut, & as soon as it wakes up in the heat, it’s starts the natural process of decaying.
Every flower has a different lifespan, some are short, some last hours, some maybe 2-3 days, some are 5-7 days and others are 10-15 days. As a florist, I try to combine arrangements so that all the flowers do not die all at one time. You can maximize vase life by pulling out each flower as it fades, keeping your flowers in a cool place, and always making sure that the water level stays to the top of the vase. Even as a florist I am always surprised how fast flowers drink up the water. Roses in particular, can drink half a vase of water overnight. If they run out of water, even for a just a bit, they will die. That is the biggest thing you can do to help add extra vase life to your cut flower arrangements.
If you are cutting flowers from your garden, cut them in the coolest part of the day, and place them in water immediately, you will get extra long life by doing this. If you think of your flowers as living breathing things, and treat them as such, you will benefit from extra long lasting flowers. It is even beneficial to mist them when it is extra warm in the house, they absorb the moisture through the petals and leaves too!
I hope this helps you to extend the life of your cut flower arrangements and get the best value for the money!