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How to Lengthen the Life of Your Arrangement

Two of the top questions Americans ask when purchasing flowers are "How do I take care of them?" and "How long will they last?" Whether it's a single bud, a small bunch or an abundant arrangement, a little extra care can make a big difference.

Most floral arrangements last between 4-7 days, depending on the types of flowers used and the type of care they receive. The Society of American Florists suggests these tips for longer-lasting, more vibrant flowers:

For floral arrangements-
Keep the vase filled or floral foam soaked with water containing a flower food provided by your florist.

If the flower food solution becomes cloudy, replace it entirely. If possible, recut stems by removing one to two inches with a sharp knife.

Keep flowers in a cool spot (65 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit), away from direct sunlight, heating or cooling vents, directly under ceiling fans, or on top of televisions or radiators. (Appliances like televisions give off heat, causing flowers to dehydrate.)

For loose bunches or boxed flowers -
If you can't get your flowers in a flower food solution right away, keep them in a cool place.

Fill a clean, deep vase with water and add the flower food obtained from your florist. Be sure to follow the directions on the package.

Remove leaves that will be below the waterline. Leaves in water will promote bacterial growth.

Recut stems with a sharp knife. Do this underwater -- this allows the stems to draw in water instead of air -- and place the flowers in the vase solution you've prepared.

If you purchase loose flowers for your own arrangements you should also consider these tips:

-When selecting flowers, look for flowers with upright, firm petals and buds beginning to open. Yellow, spotted or drooping leaves are signs of age.

-When using woody stems and branches (such as quince, forsythia or lilac), cut the stem with sharp pruning shears. Place in warm water containing fresh flower food to promote flower opening.

   
   


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