by Matt Gibson
Florists depend on your lack of knowledge about flower arrangements in order to make a living. If you knew all of their secrets, you could save yourself quite a bit of change when you find yourself in need of a nice arrangement for a friend who could use a little cheering up, or as a gift for a significant other. Flower bouquets are also lovely additions to your home decor.
We have all been in a situation where we could use a flower arrangement, but few of us also possess the knowledge needed in order to create an arrangement like a professional, that will last as long as the ones that you get from a florist. Just imagine being able to always have the perfect flower arrangement within a few short moments for the cost of just the store-bought flowers alone. If you have your own flower garden, making your own designs is even less taxing on your budget. If only the professional flower arrangers would share their secrets!
Well, we did a little bit of digging, and as it turns out, today’s florists are not holding on tight to their valuable insight as much as they used to. In fact, they are willingly sharing quite a bit of prized information, including a bunch of tips and tricks that they picked up while working in the field. Read on to learn pro-tips from florists that cover how to make arrangements bright and beautiful, as well as how to keep them looking nice for extended periods of time.
Choosing The Right Container
Choosing the right sized receptacle can make or break an arrangement. If you plan to use a long list of flowers, you are going to need a vase or container large enough to fit each type of flower in comfortably, as well as a few greens added in for variety. The clipped stems of each addition to the arrangement need to fit nicely into the mouth of the container.
If the vase is too narrow, not only will the whole thing look crowded and disheveled, but the stems may get squished, causing the flowers to wilt early. On the other hand, if the mouth of the vase is too wide, your arrangement will not have a sturdy shape. Every arrangement is unique, and each may require a different sized jar or vase. Some arrangement ideas may call for a short and stocky jar, while others need a long and slender vase for tall and showy flowers.
Those new to arrangements may be hesitant to try a short container with a large mouth, but its actually quite an easy and fun choice. You have to drastically clip the stems, but choosing a low vase is a way to produce a unique and multifaceted arrangement.
Buy The Freshest Flowers Possible
If you are using roses for your arrangement, or any flower that has a many-petaled flowerhead, the trick is to look at the outer leaves. If it looks as if quite a few of the outer petals have been removed, or if the outer-lying petals seem ripped or wilted, there’s a good chance that the one you are looking at is older than you should settle for.
Though you can save a little money by purchasing older flowers that are marked down or on sale, you are sacrificing the amount of time that you, or the person you are making the arrangement for, will be able to enjoy its beauty. Investing in fresh flowers is essential for long lasting floral designs.
Buy Flowers Grown In Your Local Area (if Possible)
To get more bang for your buck, find a flower dealer or florist in your local area to buy your flowers from directly. Give them a call and ask them about their prices and selection. Look for local area codes and addresses, and touch base with a few different locations before you decide to go shopping. If you’re not shy, ask for a discount. Senior citizens, military, and even people that the store keeper takes a liking to get a discount, so why not you?
Soak The Whole Lot
Submerge every piece of plant life that you are planning to add to the bouquet underwater for a few minutes before creating your design. Water enters through every part of the flower, so this will get them started off on the right foot with hydration, which is one of the most important factors in an arrangement’s longevity.
Use a Sharp, Non Serrated Knife, Never Scissors (For Next Step)
Using the proper tools can make all the difference, and this is especially true when finding the right weapon to cut your flower stems with. Each time you design a bouquet, you will need to cut the stems. Using scissors can crush and tear the stems, greatly reducing their shelf life. Instead, grab a sharp, non-serrated knife.
Cut The Stems At An Angle, While Submerging Underwater
Cut the stems at a 45 degree angle, or as diagonally as possible without compromising the stem. The diagonal approach allows the flower to take in more fresh water to stay hydrated and last longer. Performing this task while the flowers are fully submerged in water is a great move when handling more delicate varieties, like peonies and dahlias, but it won’t hurt hardier species either, so why not cut all stems during the deep water soak.
Measure For Ideal Size Before Cutting Stems
Each container that you choose requires you to cut your stems down to a size that will adequately fit the stems inside it, while still showing off the flowers up top. Keep in mind that you are going to cut the stems several more times, taking about an inch off each time, so give yourself some room to downsize. Use the countertop or workspace that you are creating your floral design at as a base and put your container there for reference, then make the necessary diagonal cuts (underwater if possible) to allow your flowers to fit the receptacle that you selected.
Prune Back Leaves
Prune back the leaves that are down low on the stem, as they will not be seen inside of the vase, leaving only the leaves up high near the flowerhead. Cutting off excess leaves will also allow the cut flower to focus on maintaining a bright healthy flowerhead to make your arrangement shine for a longer period of time.
Replace Water and Clean Daily
Replacing the water daily, or at least every other day, is probably the most important thing you can do to prolong your arrangement’s vitality. Each time you replace the water, empty the vase and wash well with soap to disinfect. Cleaning with soap will keep bacteria from forming, which will cause your flowers to deteriorate quickly. You will also need to readjust the nutrient levels each time by adding another dose of plant food.
Hand-Open Closed Flower Buds
If you have flowers in your bouquet that have yet to bloom, use warm water instead of cold water in the vase. Warm water will encourage the blooms to open. If the buds are still not budging, feel free to give them a little bit of encouragement with your hands.
Make A Grid
If you are using a lot of different flowers and greens, make a mental grid to help keep some balance in your vase. Turn the vase slowly while placing new additions, carefully deciding what goes where based on what looks good to you.
Use Floral Preservative Or Flower Food
Even if you bought your flowers at a gas station, store-bought blooms should always come with floral preservative or plant food in little packets to add to your water. Follow the instructions carefully to be sure that your water is not overloaded or underloaded with nutrients. Ask for extra packets, as you will be needing to change the water and feed the plants daily, or every other day to keep your bouquets looking healthy.
Make Your Own Floral Preservative/Flower Food
If you are making an arrangement from flowers out of your own garden, or accidentally purchased a group of flowers that didn’t come with any packets, or you forgot to ask for extra when you purchased the flowers at the store, never fear, you can always make your own at home. Mix together one fourth 7-Up, three fourths water, and a couple of drops of bleach, and your flowers will never know the difference. For non-chemical flower food, try out these organic options.
Let Your Flowers Sleep in the Refrigerator
When you go to sleep at night, place your floral designs in the fridge to keep them cool until morning time. Floral designs like cool weather because low temperatures help to slow the aging process. This is one of the best ways to make your arrangements last longer than normal.
Recut Stems Every Three to Four Days
Every three to four days, recut your stems, taking about an inch off each time. This will keep your cut flowers absorb water and delay any signs of wilt.
Reprune Every Three To Four Days
Repruning twice per week as you go is a simple task. Just remove any dead or dying leaves and cut away anything that doesn’t make your plants look healthier.
Make Your Flower Arrangement Sing!
Try out different combinations until you don’t think you can find anything better. Research which flowers last for a long time and pair colors that work well together. Add in a few touches of some random greens that you purchase or find around the yard and add just a touch to spice things up.
Pick The Ideal Location To Display Your Arrangement
A flower bouquet in a windowsill is always a welcoming site, but the heat from the direct sunlight it will receive will insure that your arrangement is not going to last for long. Instead, put your design in a cool, shaded location away from fruits and veggies (which give off ethylene gas which encourages wilting. Also, try to choose a spot where it will be easy to keep them safe from cats, curious dogs, and exposure to produce and pets, and out of the way of direct sunlight.
Forage Seasonal Items To Make Your Arrangement Interesting
If you are making a fall bouquet, throw in some pine cones or needles, or maybe some multicolored leaves to attract the eye. If you are in mid spring, use a mix of blooming and budding flowers so that your arrangement changes over the course of the week.
Tips For Specialty Bouquets
Check the instructions first if they are included, but orchid plants generally require ice to thrive. Use alum powder on hydrangeas by placing their freshly cut stems directly into the powder before placing each flower. If you are using lilies for your bouquet, gently remove their stamens, being careful not to let the stamens touch the lily. This simple trick will help you get a lot more life out of your lilies. Check out this article about reviving sick looking hydrangeas.
Invest In Crowning Glory Spray Wax
One of the best kept secrets of the floral arranging professional community and a must have for folks looking to create their own flower arrangements is Crowning Glory Spray Wax. The wax spray not only provides a protective coating for your delicate blooms, but it also keeps your cut flowers and greens hydrated at the same time.
Never Dilute Crowning Glory With Water
Don’t dilute the glory though, as it will be rendered ineffective if water is added to the recipe.
Keep Leaves Dry
Keeping the leaves of your plants as dry as possible will help deter bacteria and fungal growth, which will help keep your flowers healthy for a longer period.
Support Florists When You Can Afford It, Even Though You Now Know How To Do It Yourself
It’s just the right thing to do. Florists rely on your business to make a living, and they are obviously very helpful and giving souls.
Want to learn more about creating flower arrangements that last?
Floranext covers Top 10 Florist Tips & Tricks
Flower Shop Network covers Fresh Flower Care Tips
Green Fresh Florals and Plants covers 6 Tricks Florists Use to Keep Cut Flowers Alive
Paper & Stitch covers Easy Flower Arranging
ProFlowers covers How to Make Flowers Last Longer
Reader’s Digest covers Secrets Your Florist Won’t Tell You
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