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Caring For Your Flowers

Flowers, like humans, respond best to a little tender loving care. No, you don't have to hug them, but a few basic guidelines will ensure your flowers maintain their perkiness for longer.

A good florist will always include some written care details and a sachet of flower food, but there are other things you need to know to get the best out of your flowers.

Flower Types

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Roses

Roses should last about a week, but are a little prone to drooping. If they flag, wrap them in a wet newspaper and stand in cool water overnight.


Tulips

Tulips actually keep growing in the vase, which is why they elongate and curve. This is natural for Tulips and is not a sign of poor quality. Again lasting time should be around a week. If they grow too unwieldy, simply (re-)cut the stems to suit the vase.

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Care for Carnations image

Carnations


Whether it's a standard Carnation, now available in the most funky of colours or spray carnation which look great in a mixed coloured bunch with foliage, these flowers will last for at least two weeks and need very little care. However, like most flowers, carnations are sensitive to ethylene which is naturally emitted by fruits, so try to keep them away from the fruit bowl.

Chrysanthemum


Another long lasting flower, lasting two to three weeks easy. Available in some divine colours like the amazing lime green Shamrock or the stunning burnt russet Tom Pearce, Chrysanthemum are now one of the 'in' flowers. Remove any drooping or damaged buds to ensure the rest of the head keeps its freshness.
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Care for Gerbera image

Gerbera


Otherwise known as Transvaal Daisies. Like the tulip, they are curvy flowers and should be allowed to go with the flow. Some florists will gently wire them to give greater stability, this doesn't affect their vase life which should be around 7 - 10 days.

Freesia


A really delicate flower that will probably only last a week; but has an amazing smell which improves as the air gets warmer. What you lose in life span, you more than make up for in sheer gorgeousness.
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Lilies


One of the most spectacular flowers around and available in a choice of shapes. Asiatics are the most common, while Orientals have a stylish angular look. Longiflorum are extremely elegant and Calla are one of the most hi-style on the market. Orientals and Asiatics will last the longest. A top grade multi-headed Casablanca can last up to three weeks with buds opening on a regular basis. Expensive but worth it.

Lisianthus or Eustoma


A relatively new flower, but one which has already made it into the top 10 selling flowers. Available in a range of colours such as white, pink, purple and some lovely bi-colours like white with a purple edging. Lisianthus or Eustoma will last around 7 - 10 days. Like any multi-headed flower you need to remove old heads to give the new buds a chance to open.

Daffodils


The first hint of spring. A vase of these will add instant light to any room. However they ooze a latex slime, so you shouldn't mix them with other flowers unless you've got one of the special flower foods (or stand them in water for 12 hours or so and don't cut them again.)
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General flower care tips

Upon receipt of your fresh flower delivery , whether it's a presentation bouquet or a hand tied, you really should re-cut the stems before you put them in the vase to make sure their vascular cells are wide open to take up water.

But never ever bash stems - this is a real old wives tale - and is actually the kiss of death to most flowers. All bashing achieves is the mangling of the aforesaid vascular cells into such a state they haven't a hope in heck's chance of taking up water. Always cut the stems at a sharp angle using a knife if possible, or very sharp scissors.

Place the flowers immediately in clean water, mixed with the provided flower food, or they'll dry out and you've defeated the object of cutting. Make sure there are no leaves sitting below the water line, as not only will they rot and release harmful bacteria, which kills flowers, but they'll also consume vast amounts of the nutrients in the flower food which need to get up the stem to the flower head.

To maintain the look of your flowers, repeat the process three or four days later, removing any wilting or dead flower heads so that the water supply is sent to the flowers still blooming or, in the case of multi-headed varieties, still to open.

Depending on the type of design you receive you should follow a few specific guidelines:

1. Presentation bouquets

Made with a collection of loose flowers, this will give you the chance to arrange the flowers in two or three vases depending on the size of the bouquet. Cut and condition the flowers as above and make sure you use clean vases; residue from previous bouquets will cause infection and reduce the life of your new flowers.

2. Hand tied bouquets

As these are already arranged for you and tied together, the first rule is not to cut the binding string. It doesn't harm the flowers and it means the bouquet will stay looking gorgeous. If it's been delivered aquapacked i.e. there's a bubble of water around the stems hold the bouquet over a sink and cut the bottom off the film. This way the water will pour down the sink not over you.

3. Arrangements

If you receive an arrangement, it will have been made in a water retaining foam. This will need topping up every couple of days. Simply dribble water into the centre of the design or at the back where a good florist will have made a small nick into the foam.

4. Indoor gardens

To care for indoor gardens you need to check what sort of plants have been used. In most cases a good florist will have mixed and matched so that a simple top-up every three/four days is sufficient. However if there are cyclamen or succulents in the design make sure you water below the crown (the leaves), as otherwise the plant will rot. Plants need a regular spray as well. They absorb moisture through their leaves so lightly mist once a week, especially if you have a centrally heated home.

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