As a follow up to the baby shower post, I thought I’d talk a little bit about what I’ve learned over the years about floral arrangement. I am definitely an amateur when it comes to this, but I do know a few tips that will help your flowers last a little longer…and hopefully look nice too.
Before you start anything fill your vase (or jar) with water. Add a teaspoon of sugar to nourish the plants, and one teaspoon of vinegar to kill off the bacteria. The two things that will kill your flowers the fastest are bacteria and air bubbles so this is very important – I’ll get into bubbles more later. Add more sugar and vinegar if you are using a vessel larger than the one I have pictured. I’ve also read that you can use crushed asprin, sprite, pennies, or bleach to help your flowers last longer, but the sugar and vinegar combo has always been my favorite. You can also buy a powdered plant preservative that works great too!
Next remove any leaves that will sit below the water line in your vase. Leaves submerged under water tend to rot – adding to the bacteria problem.
Now you’ll need to cut the stems. Always cut your stems while fully submerged in water, so keep a large bowl of water handy. A common misconception is that you cut them under running water. Not true. You want the area to be cut fully submerged in water to prevent the flowers from sucking up air bubbles which disrupts its ability to take up more water. Another very important thing to remember while cutting your stems is to use a SHARP, sterilized, non-serrated knife. Think of it like surgery on a living thing. You don’t want to infect it with bacteria by using a dirty blade, and you don’t want to crush the stems by using scissors (this will also prevent it from being able to suck up enough water).
When you do cut your stems, always cut them at an angle. This creates extra surface area allowing it to take in more water.
After cutting, immediately place the flower into water. For this particular flower arrangement, I started with a single stem of white hydrangeas.
Next I added in a few orange and peach roses in varying heights. You’ll want to add each flower one at a time. Also criss cross the stems as you go. It kind of creates a lattice that will keep the flowers positioned where you want them.
After the roses I added in these funny, weed-looking things that I found. I have no idea what they are, but I think they give the bouquet a nice “picked-from-the-field” look.
And finally I threw in some purple wax flowers for a little extra color and texture. In terms of what order I choose to add things… I guess I like to go from big to small, adding filler flowers last. Once you are done with your arrangement, remember to replace the water and re-trim the stems every few days. It will help them to last a lot longer too.
So here’s the final arrangement! I made three of these for the shower.
Several days after the baby shower, the hydrangeas started to wilt, so I threw them out and consolidated the more hearty roses into a single vase. I also topped it off with one of the flags left over from decorating the cake. I’ve been enjoying these flowers all week. I love them! They really brighten up the space. =)