It’s your wedding and your planning was excellent, your execution sublime and excuse the pun, but everything looks rosy. Your wedding flowers are ordered and available and will be delivered shortly. Fortunately, wedding flowers are pretty sturdy and don’t need much maintenance, and basically you’re guaranteed more than reasonable longevity, right? For more information on maximizing wedding flowers from fleuroom.

Wrong! Possibly completely and wholeheartedly and organically wrong, and chances are your flowers will be dead before you even walk down the aisle if you haven’t maximized the chances of flower longevity. If you want to handle freshly cut wedding flowers like a pro, you should think and act like a pro. The alternative is that no concentration and proper attention will result in the flowers simply wilting and dying, almost right before your eyes.

Nightmares For a Bride

On the list of worst nightmares for a bride, perhaps ahead of the priest or groom making a last minute getaway, are wedding flowers that refuse to cooperate and decide that going to flower heaven before the actual wedding might be an option. Of course, that’s not an option a bride would be happy about.

So how can you get the most out of your wedding flowers for as long as possible? Here are a few tips…

Selection: When you’re shopping for your flowers, you’ll want to take a close look at your specimens. In doing so, you should pay particular attention to the following:

Make sure most of your flowers are in bud and that the buds are reasonably firm. Flowers in bud last longer.
Make sure the stems are not broken, damaged, slimy or discolored.
Check that foliage is not wilted or showing signs of mold. Discard any specimens whose leaves are turning yellow.
If you have fragrant flowers, make sure the specimens give off a strong fragrance.
Vessel and water: make sure your vase is properly sterilized before using it. Preferably, clean the vase manually with a mild disinfectant or hot soapy water and then rinse thoroughly with hot water. After drying, add sterilized, boiled and cooled water to the vase. Add a commercial mixture of flower preservatives and food or make it yourself.

To do this, add 2 tablespoons of bleach, 2 tablespoons of vinegar (or lemon juice) and 4 tablespoons of sugar per gallon of water. The bleach deactivates the bacteria, the vinegar, which is actually acetic acid, a mild acid, regulates the pH, and the sugar serves as a glucose source for the flower to absorb through the stem and use as a carbohydrate source for energy.

Add room temperature water to the vase. Fill with as much water as you can without overfilling the vase (fill it about 2/3 full, add your wedding flowers, and then fill the water in the vase to within an inch of the top. The deeper the water, the better).

Adding the flowers: for a wedding flower display in a vase, the rule of thumb is that the flowers should be one and a half times the height of the vase. You should keep this in mind when choosing the stem length of your flowers (the longer the stems, the better). When cutting your flowers, be sure to cut them as early in the morning as possible, if you have any influence over that.

Cut the stems at an obtuse angle of about 45 degrees to allow the stems to absorb as much water as possible. Cut the stems under running water (so air doesn’t get in and impede the flow of water to the flowers) with sharp secateurs or a flower knife. Avoid using a dull blade, which can damage and bruise the stem, impeding vital water flow to the flower head. Remove all leaves that are below the water line. Any decaying organic matter will contaminate the water and shorten the life of the flowers.

Replace the sterilized water, flower food and preservative every 24 hours and cut the stems at an angle under running water.

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