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How to keep flowers fabulous for longer

Living and Beauty: How to keep flowers fabulous for longer

Flowers have long been my Friday treat. There is nothing nicer than having fresh flowers dotted around the house for the weekend. 

In general my go to for flowers is Marks and Spencer. Their flowers are always so lovely - in particular their white hydrangea stems and their roses. Since moving to Kildare, I discovered the joyous floral feast for the eyes that is Joeanna Caffrey Flowers at Avoca in Rathcoole where I bought my gorgeous pink hydrangea plant (that seems to be bucking the trend of my unlucky streak of plant fatalities) but lately I have also picked up lovely wee bunches of roses, lilies and tulips in Aldi and Lidl for mere pennies. I find I derive as much pleasure from a small bunch of cheap as chips tulips I pick up in the supermarket, as I do from a big bespoke creation from the florist. 

Friday Flower Treats

But no matter where I buy my flowers, I try to follow a few simple tips to help keep fabulous flowers fresh for as long as possible:
  • Start with a clean vase - Use warm water and a mild detergent like washing up liquid to clean the vase. If there were flowers in the vase previously that developed that icky, murky-coloured water that we all hate to dispose of,  it's best to clean the vase using a little bleach in the water like Milton Sterilising Fluid first.This helps ensure it's free from bacteria that might reduce the lifespan of your flowers.Fill the vase with water - Once cleaned, fill the vase just below half way with cool to room-temperature water. Add in any floral food that may have come with your flowers.
  • Prepare the flowers - Cut the stems of the flowers at roughly a 45 degree angle about one inch from the end. This allows each flower more surface area to absorb water to keep hydrated and well-nourished. If trimming roses with stems that are fairly strong and woody, I recommend using a pair of secateurs -  a type of scissors for use on plants - rather than standard kitchen scissors.Safety first!
  • Keep leaves above the waterline - Make sure none of the flowers' leaves are lying beneath the water line as harmful bacteria can develop on the leaves and shorten your flowers’ life.
  • Change the water frequently - Always make sure your flowers have enough water and change the water every other day.

Here are a few other tricks to extend your flowers' lifetime:

  • When the penny drops - To keep your flowers looking their best for longer, try dropping a penny into the water - the copper’s acid acts as a natural antibacterial agent that prevents the growth of harmful bacteria in flowers. 
  • Vodka and vinegar - You can also use some white vinegar, or vodka to keep the water disinfected and the bacteria under control. 
  • Sugar and Sprite keep your flowers looking right - To give your flowers some nourishment add some sugar to the water. Don't throw away that half drank bottle of white lemonade, 7UP or Sprite either, as the sugar in white soda drinks can also provide nutrients to help your beautiful blooms stay looking their very best. 
So do you have any top tips like these to share? And what are your favourite flowers to display at home?

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