How are your flowers looking in their vases? If they're not made of plastic and call the centre of your dining table 'home', then chances are they might be looking a little worse for wear.
That doesn't have to be the case, though! Flowers in vases are one of the most timeless, aromatic, gorgeous and reliable ways to spruce-up things at your place, so making them as happy as can be - given you just bought them from a florist or sliced them off the bushes in your backyard a moment ago - is vital to have them last as long as possible. This can be tricky, though and the key lies in a few simple things you can do yourself at home that will take a minute or two. Easy!
1. Keep the stems out of direct sunlight and close to a bench and sink as you remove the leaves from the stems that will be below the waterline.
2. Recut the stems under water and cut them at a slight angle for soft stems to prevent them from standing flat on the bottom. If it's a woody stem, cut at 45-degrees to expose more fibrous centre, which imbibes water.
3. If your flowers have sappy or soft stems, sear them in boiling water. Acanthus, delphinium, euphorbia, helleborus, hollyhocks, poppies, sunflowers and sweet peas benefit from this and roses can be revived by it if they're droopy. Dip the stems into 2.5cm of boiling water for 30 seconds. Bubbles will emerge as the steam seals. Immediately place them in tepid water and they're done.
4. Clean the vase you plan on popping your flowers in with bleach, not detergent.
The reason many flowers lose their lustre after only a short time in the vase is if the bacteria of the water becomes too much for the flower to prosper, so by adding substances like bleach or vinegar, the bacteria can't survive and the water stays cleaner for longer.
5. To prolong the life of your flowers, check the water level every day and top-up where required, but in hot weather, change the water every second day.
6. Flowers need a bit of fuel along the way, too, so add into the water some commercial flower food or a teaspoon of sugar along with a drop of bleach and vinegar to keep them looking healthy.
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