So THAT's How To Keep Flowers Fresh

An expert shares her advice.
Zorica Nastasic via Getty Images

Don’t get me wrong ― not knowing how to keep an abundance of flowers fresh is a pretty good problem to have. Still, it’s not one I’ve managed to find a solution to yet.

Most of us in the UK struggle to keep so much as a cactus alive ― so it makes sense that the delicate, short-lived plants given to us in bouquets all too quickly turn into a withered brown mess.

Thankfully, M&S flowers expert Jane Scott has some advice on how to keep them looking fresher for longer. Here are some of her tips:

1) Aim to trim the stems at a 45-degree angle

TBH, I didn’t know you were meant to trim flowers at all when you got them. But it turns out that not only is a quick clip advised ― there’s a particular angle you’re meant to cut them at too.

“When looking to keep your rose or lily bouquet fresh for as long as possible, hydration is key. To help with this, always trim the stems when moving them into a vase, as this encourages the stems to absorb the water,” Scott explained.

“When trimming, aim for a 45-degree angle. This will allow for a larger surface area, meaning increased hydration. Cutting stems horizontally can also encourage them to sit flat on the bottom of the vase, which can make it harder for water absorption.”

2) Keep your flowers away from fruit (wait, what?)

Much as I was surprised by the cutting fact, this shocked me more.

“The old tip of keeping fresh flowers well away from fruit is an interesting one, yet this is actually true thanks to the gas certain fruits release. Fruits such as bananas, apples and pears release ethylene gas which stimulates maturation. In other words, this gas can cause things to go bad at a quick rate including flowers and plants,” Scott said.

“With this in mind, you should reconsider the placement of your flowers if they are usually near your fruit bowl.”

3) Use that plant food

Scott suggests you shouldn’t ignore the plant food and instructions that come with your flowers.

“It is common for people to overlook the importance of plant food, or simply put the packet aside and forget to feed their bouquet but this can really help to extend their lifespan beyond the five days,” she says.

“When receiving flowers, try to make a point to read the instructions or label and follow this as closely as possible. If your flowers do not come with plant food attached, another simple method is to add a small amount of sugar to the water every couple of days to help nourish the flowers.”

4) Change your flowers’ water every couple of days

I’m definitely guilty of leaving beautiful flowers in a stagnant, grubby pool of old water. But (unsurprisingly) this is not the best way to treat them.

“Keeping your flowers in tip-top condition requires daily maintenance, and this includes changing the water frequently ― every couple or few days is sufficient,” Scott pointed out.

“Not switching out the water regularly can lead to bacteria build up in the vase which may lead to the flowers wilting at a quicker rate, so it is definitely recommended to keep this up to enjoy them for longer.”

5) Remove any wilted flowers or leaves

Bacteria buildup doesn’t just happen in your plant’s water ― it can occur in the leaves and flowers, too.

“You should also remove any flowers and leaves that have wilted and fallen into the water. Not only will this keep the bouquet looking more attractive and fresher, but also prevent the remaining flowers from dying prematurely too,” Scott says.

6) Take note of your specific plant’s water and sunlight needs

“As for how much water and sunlight your flowers or plants need, it really depends on the type of plant - some thrive with very little water whilst others require daily watering. That said, overwatering is a very common mistake people make when it comes to caring for their plants,” Scott says.

“If you find this tends to happen to you, you may be best to water your plants using a mister which allows for better control. As for sunlight, flowers should be kept away from direct sunlight, so avoiding placing them on windowsills is often worthwhile for bouquets. With plants, you should check the label as each species will have specific guidelines on where you’re best to place them.”

Fellow accidental plant killers, here’s hoping our next bouquet lasts more than four hours...