TIps for selecting and arranging fresh flowers
Every once in a while I splurge and buy myself flowers at the grocery store. In honor of my son finally being potty trained and a healthier grocery budget because of it; I decided that this week was a splurge week. A neighbor once commented on flowers that I picked up and how long they lasted so I figured others might enjoy these tips.
1) For the best flowers, go to a florist. They always have the best quality. If you have a hard time making it to a florist, pick a grocery store in a fancy part of town. Where we live, if I head North of our house you quickly arrive in a very affluent area, and the “fancy King Soopers” (as I call it) has a much better selection of flowers than the one that is actually closer to our house.
2) At the grocery store look for a “display until …” date. King Soopers (Krogers) has these on the flower packages, the further away the date, the fresher the flowers. If your store has less obvious date markings, look and see if you can find some sort of numeric code that looks like it might relate to a date.
3) Feel the base of the flowers. If the base is nice and firm, these flowers are in good shape and should last longer than onces with more soft or overly flexible bases. Obviously, some flowers are naturally more limp, so this is quite relative and may be harder on a flower like the tulip.
4) Check out the bud. I prefer buds that are tightly closed, but not so extremely tight that they look more like buds, these may never open. While looking at the bud check out and see if there has been any pruning; meaning someone has pulled off a few of the exterior petals to hide the flower’s age (by the way, they do this with produce like lettuce as well).
5) Beware of manager’s specials and sales. This is rather obvious, but I’ve known people who were surprised when manager special or sale flowers only lasted a few days. There’s a reason they are on sale; they are old and they need to get rid of them. If you don’t mind only getting a few days, go ahead and purchase them, but I tend to think of the money I spend in terms of value. Meaning, if I pay $5 for a bouquet of flowers that lasts 3 days I spent about $1.50 per day. If I pay $8 for a bouquet of flowers that last 8 days I’ve only spent $1 per day. I prefer to pay a little more and have them last longer. By the way, the longest lasting flowers I’ve ever gotten have always come from a good florist.
6) I like to buy a mix of flowers, some longer lasting (roses) and some shorter lasting (delphiniums). I buy some of the little extras, like wax flowers or greens, and when I get home I split my stash into 3 vases. As the flowers die off, I pull the wilting ones out and condense my bouquets into 2, and then finally one vase. This also prolongs the life of my flowers, and lets me spread the flower love throughout my house.
7) When you bring the flowers home, cut at an angle at least one inch off the bottom of the stem, and put them in water right away. Flowers that have little tubes running up their stems (xylem and phloem) that helps transfer water and nutrients. As flowers sit the exposed openings of the tubes (which are connected to the root system in nature) can get plugged up. Cutting off the ends helps make sure the water can get into the cut flowers properly.
8) Plants (fruits, vegetables, flowers) all give off ethylene gas as they begin to die off. Other plants nearby can sense this gas, and it causes them to ripen at a faster pace and rot earlier. I purposely keep all of my produce separated in bags to help the spread of this gas in my fridge, and also quickly get rid of over ripe produce (including flowers) quickly to do the same. Simply put, if one of the flowers is beginning to look sad, get rid of it before it affects the rest.
9) Wash your vases in the dishwasher after each use. This ensures that any bacteria left over were killed off and won’t affect your future bouquets. If the vase is fancy, hand wash it in hot water to do the same.
10) Because 10 makes a better list number than 9, enjoy splurging on something fun every now and then; whether it be flowers or something else that brightens your day.
Some of these tips are things that I myself have found useful, and some have come from my Biology background. Enjoy the tips, and hopefully enjoy fresh flowers a little longer…