How to make those Valentine’s flowers last longer

A stunning bouquet of roses, or indeed any other flower, has arrived and that first flush of romantic delight quickly changes into blind panic … how to keep them alive!

Help is at hand with the Good Florist Guide’s checklist to perfect flower loving with not a drop of gin in sight.

1. If your flowers have been delivered in a ‘bubble’ of water (what the trade call an aqua pack) take them out as soon as possible. We know the packaging looks fab but a bubble is really only for delivery purposes. It’s fine to leave them in the wrapping for up to 12 hours but after that you should transfer them to a vase. A tip is to hold the bouquet over a sink and slice the wrapping at the bottom so the water pours out. If you tilt the bouquet like a jug you may get spillage.

2. If it’s a hand-tied you should keep the string around the stems in place so the bouquet holds its shape. If you want to make a couple of vases from your gift, snip the string carefully and arrange as required but always make sure that any part of the stem that will sit in the water is leaf-free as loose foliage will contaminate the water and decrease flower life.

3. Mix the flower food that comes with most delivered flowers with the right amount of water … the mix is important to make sure the flowers get the right amount of nutrients. If there wasn’t any flower food, then only use plain water, it’s an old wives’ tale that aspirin, lemonade or gin will help and a modern men’s tale that Viagra is the solution. They all have a purpose … just not with flowers!

4. Cut about 2 – 5cm of stem off the bottom at a short, slanted 45o angle using a sharp knife or scissors. We could get all technical about xylem vessels, micro-organisms and vascular take-up but basically the wider the cut, the better the water take up. Avoid blunting the stems as this causes a whole lot of damage and stops water absorption which will lead to premature wilt. It’s a bit like smashing your finger with a hammer or having a paper cut … both hurt like heck but the paper cut heals more quickly.

5. Enjoy … with the right care and the right flower food your roses should last at least a week … other flowers even longer!

For more information on flower care and how to enjoy them longer, log onto