3 smart ways to buy and arrange cut flowers

Flowers and plants are an important asset to a home's decorating scheme. Fortunately, you don't have to be an expert to have healthy greenery and charmingly arranged flowers. Check out these smart ways to buy and arrange cut flowers.

3 smart ways to buy and arrange cut flowers

1. How to buy cut flowers

  • The fresher the flower, the longer it will last. The best, freshest flowers have firm leaves that show no trace of yellowing and that resist slightly when plucked. Very fresh flowers usually will be only partly open (roses should still be buds) and their colours true, with no sign of browning. They should not shed any petals. If the flowers are in water, the water should look and smell clean, with no trace of decay.
  • Look at other flowers in the store. If they're tired and aging, chances are flowers you buy will soon look that way, too. You can buy high-quality flowers just about anywhere.
  • At a farmer's market, expect casual, common flowers sold loose or in unstructured bouquets. Florists, on the other hand, will carry more exotic flowers and certain flowers out of season.

2. Caring for florists’ flowers

If you decided to visit a florist, keep a beautiful arrangement fresher longer by taking a few simple steps.

  • Keep flowers out of direct sunlight. At night, store the flowers in a cool spot, such as a basement or garage. Don't put flowers in the refrigerator — it's too dry in there.
  • Change the water in your flower arrangement daily, replacing it with tepid water to which you've added floral preservative. Available from greenhouses and florists, commercial floral preservative really does make flowers last much longer.
  • Every other day, trim the ends of the flowers' stems by about 0.5 centimetres (1⁄4 inch). You can trim one stem at a time or the whole bunch at once.

3. Flower arranging tips

  • Anchor your flowers. For a saucer or a short vase, use green floral foam. Soak it in water and cut it with a knife to the size of the vase, allowing it to stand about 2.5 centimetres (one inch) higher than the vase rim. Place flower stems into the foam, inserting some horizontally for a fuller look. With taller vases, use a "frog," a pincushion-like wire device. Or fill the bottom third of a glass vase with marbles, which will hold flower stems firmly in place.
  • When arranging, go for a mix of shapes. Use several boldly shaped flowers, several tall spiky flowers and plenty of fluffy-looking filler flowers or foliage. If the arrangement will be viewed from one side only, place leaves in the background.
  • Your florist will supply you with foliage, but don't be afraid to mix in foliage from your own backyard. Herbs often look handsome in a flower arrangement. Fresh flowers from the garden last days longer if you cut and condition them properly. Harvest flowers early in the morning, just after the dew has dried, while they're at their brightest. Soak them up to their necks in a tall container filled with tepid water for several hours.
  • After arranging, add a floral preservative to the water.

Follow these simple tips and create a beautiful flower arrangement that lasts longer and looks professional!

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