With summer's arrival, fresh cut flower bouquets are available in a riot of colors and varieties from farmer's markets, shops, and gardens.
Locally grown flowers already enjoy a longer vase compared to imported stems. Local blooms will be harvested at the correct stage for consumers, and have never known life without a water source.
By contrast, flowers flown in from other countries are usually picked early, packed dry into boxes for easy shipping, and then fumigated when they arrive in the U.S. It can be weeks from flower field to your vase, compared to days (or hours!) when locally grown.
By following a few simple tips, you can enjoy the maximum vase life from your locally grown flowers.
Start with a clean vessel. Bacteria shortens vase life considerably, so make sure you wash your vase between uses. If it's dishwasher safe, that's a great way to sanitize it between uses. Otherwise use warm soapy water, and a bottle brush to clean any hard to reach spots.
Give stems a fresh cut. Sharp scissors or garden pruners can be used to cut stems at an angle when you bring them home. This exposes fresh stem area to allow flowers to "drink" water from the vase. Cutting at an angle gives you maximum surface area, while also preventing stems from resting on the vase bottom, which can trap bacteria. Be sure to also remove any leaves that will fall below the water line.
Use floral preservative. Typically this will extend the vase life of your blooms by a few days - a plus in my book! Our bouquets will always come with a packet of floral preservative.
Display flowers away from heat and produce. A sunny window or other heat source (like the top of a refrigerator) will shorten the vase life of flowers. Ripening produce like bananas on your countertop give off ethylene gas which also shortens their life. Avoid these locations for maximum enjoyment.
Refresh. Change the vase's water every 1-2 days, and remove any spent blooms. Ephemeral treats like poppies may grace your bouquet for a few special days, while satin flower and lisianthus remain fresh 10-14 days later.
Enjoy! I like to place vases of flowers where I'll see them frequently: my desk, nightstand, dining table, and bathroom vanity always host vases of various shapes and sizes. Decorating the fireplace mantle makes a great focal impact in a room, and the covered porch is another good place to add fresh flowers during the summer.