We Love…Flower Arranging

I’ve been obsessed with florals for as long as I can remember, and since the COVID-19 ‘stay at home’ days I have always kept fresh flowers in my home – it kept me going! In my opinion, there’s no better way to brighten a home than with an eye-catching flower arrangement. But unfortunately, it can be difficult to create the elaborate floral arrangements that you see in magazines or online, without knowing the basics. Over time, I have done a fair amount of research and at-home experiments on how to create a beautiful arrangement and, more importantly, how to care for flowers to help them live as long as possible in the vase.

Here are some of my favourite go-to floral tips:

TIP #1: Trim at least half an inch from each flower stem, and at an angle.
The reason for the angled cut is to increase the surface area, allowing the flowers to absorb more water. Avoid using blunt tools because they can squash the stem, which will hinder its ability to take up an adequate amount of water. After trimming, place them in water immediately because some stems quickly form a ‘scab’ over fresh cuts when exposed to air, making it hard for them to absorb water.

TIP #2: Remove any foliage below water level.
Remnants of fertiliser and micro-organisms travel along the leaves and contaminate the vase water – the so-called bio-load of the vase water. The bacterial growth, in turn, causes the flowers to die more quickly.

TIP #3: Refresh the water daily and wash the vase each time.
This extra step can help prolong the life of your blooms, exponentially. When changing the water and washing the vase (don’t just rinse, but use soap and hot water), you are literally removing bacteria.

TIP #4: Use ‘flower food’
Those little packets (they can be in liquid or granule form) you often get when you buy flowers are flower food. They’re worth using! The sugary formula nourishes the flowers and keeps them vibrant longer. In addition to ‘feeding’ the bouquet, these food packets contain a bactericide that keeps the water fresh for a day or two longer. I also make my own flower food by adding about 1 teaspoon of sugar, 2 teaspoons of lemon juice and a 1 teaspoon of bleach to your vase before adding about a 1 litre of warm tap water. It is worth noting that there are a few flowers that actually do NOT like flower food in the vase (zinnias, sunflowers and gladioli).

TIP #5: Create a ‘tape grid’
Sometimes no matter how you try to arrange and re-arrange a bunch of blooms in a vase, they never seem to sit just right. The floral tape hack is the ’cheats way to flower arranging’, which will ensure you get a plump, balanced arrangement every time. Cut strips of floral tape and begin placing it across the vase in a grid, with tape strips going in one direction and then the same amount running at 90 degrees (almost like a noughts and crosses grid). Then arrange flowers evenly throughout the grid, making sure there’s enough foliage around the edge of the vase to conceal the tape.

I hope these tips help your blooms stay fresher for longer!