When you receive fresh cut blooms, you want them to last as long as possible! Here are some tips and tricks to help lengthen the life of your fresh flowers.
Replace water daily, and keep the water level near top of the vase. If there's one thing you can do that has the biggest impact on keeping your flowers alive as long as possible, this is it! Flowers are thirsty and drink a LOT of water.
It's also important to keep the water clean. This helps prevent bacteria from growing in the vase, which would reduce the life of your flowers. Each time you change the water, remove the stems and give the vase a quick rinse before refilling.
Use cool water. Cool temperatures slow the blooming process for your flowers. If you DO want your flowers to open more quickly - for example, to have the blooms nice and open for a wedding - you could put the stems in lukewarm water. Otherwise, use cool water only. Here in Phoenix, that sometimes means I drop a few ice cubes in my vase or bucket.
Trim the stems every 1-2 days. This ensures the flowers have a clear pathway to drink water. Cut the stems at a diagonal - this ensures the stems are not sitting flat against the bottom of the vase, which could block them from drinking water. When you bring fresh flowers home from the store, give them a fresh cut before putting them into water. If flowers have been out of water for an extended period of time, it's important to clear the stems of air bubbles and provide the flowers with a fresh pathway for water.
When you put your arrangement back into the vase, make sure there are no leaves below the water line. This helps prevent mold or bacteria from forming.
If your florist used a tape grid - common in lower or wider containers to help the arrangement keep its shape while designing and traveling - there are a couple ways to more easily access the stems to trim. You can remove the tape grid by trimming around the edges of the vase, which will allow you to easily lift up the bunch of stems. Or, you can simply pull out a few stems each day to trim them and pop them back in.
Keep your flowers in a cool place. There's a reason florists have big coolers to store product - cold temperatures slow down the lifecycle of flowers, so they last longer. A florist's cooler is between 36-41 degrees Fahrenheit.
Depending on where you live, you can replicate this by setting your flowers in a safe spot outside overnight. Just be sure the temperatures won't drop below freezing - if flowers freeze, they die. Additionally, make sure the flowers don't spend too much time in the sun in the morning - bring them back inside once it warms up. Bright light and warmth will accelerate the blooming process.
Another trick is to pop your arrangement in the fridge overnight. If you do this, make sure there's no fresh fruit in the fridge - the ethylene gas produced by ripening fruit will cause your flowers to die faster.
There are many different suggestions out there for things you can add to the water in your vase - pennies, bleach, vodka, sugar, etc. While each of these may have some merit (like flower food, which you may have received with your arrangement), THE BEST thing you can do is keep the water fresh and clean. This will have the biggest impact on extending the life of your flowers!