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Important Tips for Arranging Flowers at Home

Start with a clean vase:

One of the first mistakes people make when they arrange their flowers at home is to start the process with a dirty vase. If you haven’t cleaned the vase from the last time there were flowers in it, there could be bacteria or fungi in the vase that will cause your flowers to go down early.

A clean vase from your cupboard could also be a source of house dust. We all know that house dust contains all things that could be harmful to you, which are also potentially harmful to your flowers.

Be sure to start with a freshly washed vase every time and your flowers will last a lot longer!

Use lukewarm water and flower food:

Once you have a sparkling clean vase, the next step is to add water and flower food. Dragonfly Flowers On McPhillps should provides customers with one or two small packages of flower food with their bouquet purchase. When the flower was cut, it lost it’s source of water and nutrients. The flower food provided by your local florist replaces these carbohydrates and sugars typically used by the flowers and stabilizes and lowers the pH of the water. Some contain microorganism inhibitors to stop fungi and bacteria from growing on the stems and some formulas even contain un-blockers for the stems.

Simply pour the flower food into the container and add water. Swirl the container to mix it up a bit and you are done!

Your flowers are hopefully still fresh and perky when you get them, but they have certainly been through the mill. Most flowers have traveled thousands of miles, been tossed around during shipping, handled 5-10 times and cut 2 or 3 times before they even get to you. You don’t want to shock them even more with cold water when you get them, they have been through enough. Your flowers have likely been out of water for 30 minutes to a couple of hours by this time as well. Using warmer water allows them to drink much more efficiently as it slowly cools to room temperature. During this time, they are also sucking up valuable nutrients from your flower food.

Re-cut the stems – again:

You florist likely gave your flowers a fresh cut before they sent them to you, which allows them to drink more readily. Even though your flowers have been cut from their roots, where they typically get their nourishment and water, they still have the ability to draw water up the stems, which will keep their heads moist and nourished. It’s always a good idea to re-cut your flowers when you get them home to make sure that the tubes in the stems are free and clear to draw as much water as possible.

You have probably heard that you should cut the flowers on an angle. This cutting the stems on an angle provides a greater area of the stem to contact the water, and allows it to drink more freely.

Try not to use scissors to cut the stems. Cutting the stems with scissors typically compresses the stem to some extent and in doing so, will limit it’s ability to drink efficiently. A good sharp knife, like your florist uses, will do the trick!

Remove excess greens:

Your florist may or may not have removed the excess greens or leaves from the stems of your flowers. It’s a good idea to strip away these greens and make sure they are not below the water line. The flowers don’t drink through the leaves, and the large surface area of the greens provides ample space for bacteria and fungi to hitch a ride into the water and subsequently into the stems.

Display in the right area:

In order to keep your flowers looking their best for the longest period of time there are a few rules to follow for where you display them. The main points are, keep them away from excessive heat and in areas with little air movement. Heat and air movement both speed the evaporation of water from the flowers and make it more difficult for them to survive for longer periods of time.

Flower Display rules:

  • Keep flowers away from drafts
  • Don’t display arrangements on the TV (Or any other warm place, such as close to a register)
  • – Don’t display fresh flowers in direct sunlight.
  • – Don’t display flower arrangements on top of the fridge or microwave.

These few simple tips can significantly lengthen the life of your arrangement and keep your flowers looking lovely for several weeks.


  1. Buffie,

    Thanks for the wonderful flower arranging tips. I use cut flowers from my garden and pick up stems from my florists all of the time. Sometimes, I forget to use the preservative and it really does make a difference. Thanks again for giving us some much needed flower arranging tips on the Bloomin’ Blog.

    By the way I love your blog. Anyone interested in more fantastic information from Buffie and Duane at DragonFly check out The Florist Blog.

  2. Thanks Jamie,

    Please feel free to visit us at our blog anytime if you have any other questions about arranging flowers at home or anything else we might be able to help you with.

    We look forward to writing for the Bloomin’ Blog again, real soon!

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