I am often asked by customers how to best care for their flowers. The two most important things you can do is to make sure they have clean water by making sure your vases/containers are clean and by giving them fresh, clean water every day. Those two things are the most critical. You can also extend the life of your flowers following the tips below.
Sterilize your vases before using. Make sure all vases are cleaned with hot water and soap, and preferably bleach them clean.
Fresh, clean water every day (or try). This is an essential step because it keeps bacteria out of the water. If you wouldn't drink the water your flowers have, then they shouldn't be drinking it either!
If you have well water, this is especially important because your water isn’t treated like city water; there is no chlorine in well water!
If you can’t get to this every day, try using flower food when you are able to provide clean water, and add an ice cube to the water every morning. The flower food helps keep the water clean, and the ice is a nice, cool refreshment to flowers.
Trim ends off every 2-3 days. Just grasp your flowers like you are carrying a bridesmaid’s hand-tied bouquet, lift your flowers up, use sharp scissors or trimmers, and trim all stems the same amount. Replace in fresh water. Trim off just enough for a fresh end, but don’t go crazy. Some professionals recommend trimming every day, but I’ve found that if the water is clean then bacteria is not getting into the stems, and they don't need to be refreshed as often.
Keep flowers out of direct sunlight, hot rooms, and away from drafts. Yes, even air conditioning drafts can be hard on flowers. At night try to move them to a cool room in your house.
Do NOT put in the refrigerator or near fruit like bananas and apples. Fruits in particular, and foods in our refrigerators emit ethylene gas. This gaseous hormone is harmless to humans but is the reason why fruits and vegetables ripen. It is rather deadly to flowers, causing them to quickly age and drop petals.
Flower food is nice. Know your flowers. While most flowers will last slightly longer with flower food, a few flowers do not respond well. When you use flower food, use the entire pack per vase of water…otherwise it's like giving a partial dose of medicine. And make sure the food is dissolved before putting your flowers in the water…otherwise it will sit in the bottom and won’t be effective. This is best done by putting the food in about ¼ cup of very warm water. Once dissolved, add to the cooler water in your vase. For homemade food for the entire week see homemade recipes.
Avoid Giving These Flowers Flower Food
Also note that it's not necessary to give Tulips flower food.
Make Your Own Flower Food
Usually, you only get 1 flower food packet with your bouquet, and if you are supposed to use the entire packet at one time AND change your water every day...well you can see where I'm going. You can try some of these homemade recipes to help extend the life of your flowers. Basically, each recipe provides some sugar (food) for the flowers and an acid or bleach to kill bacteria. Let me know which recipe you like best!
•Apple Cider Vinegar & Sugar: Add a teaspoon of ACV and a teaspoon of regular sugar to the water. The vinegar kills bacteria and the sugar feeds your flowers.
•Lemon Juice & Bleach: A teaspoon of lemon juice, a teaspoon of sugar and 3 drops of bleach. Or 1/4 teaspoon of bleach alone per 1 liter of water. Bleach may sound extreme, but it keeps the water free of bacteria.
•Lemon Lime Soda: One part Lemon-Lime Soda (Not Diet- the flowers need the sugar) to 3 parts water. The soda has acid and sugar, a great combination reducing bacteria and feeding flowers!