Care Tips

Care and conditioning tips for cut flowers

People often hesitate to buy fresh flowers because they think they can't get them to last more than a couple of days. Some flowers are shortlived, but most commercially grown flowers will last at least a week if treated right. Commercially-grown flowers are specially treated after cutting, which means they will last longer than varieties cut from the garden.

Conditioning is the term florists use to mean getting the flowers ready for arranging. By following these few simple steps you can get extra life and pleasure from your flowers.

Top Tips For Cut Flower Care

The Flowers & Plants Association recommends the following simple tips, based on the latest extensive scientific research, to ensure that your flowers last longer and look lovelier:

  1. Make sure vases are very clean
  2. Use fresh lukewarm water with commercial cut flower food added.
  3. Strip all leaves below the water level.
  4. Take at least 3cm (1") off all stems, making a slanted cut with a sharp knife or very sharp scissors.
  5. Avoid direct sunlight, heat, or draughts which can shorten flowers' lives.
  6. Keep flowers away from fruit and remove faded flowers as they occur.
  7. Top up the water regularly and add flower food in proportion.


Buy flowers from a reputable outlet, and choose blooms with firm petals or with buds that show a degree of colour to ensure the flowers will develop fully.

Ensure the flowers are well wrapped for protection and, if the flowers are to be kept out of water for some hours, ask the florist to cover the stem ends with damp paper, or even to "aquapack" them in their own water `pod'.

Imagine Florist New Malden Cut Stems at Angle

Ask for cut flower food if it is not already supplied. This contains the correct ingredients to a) feed the flowers properly, b) keep bacteria at bay (which blocks the stem and stops water uptake), c) encourage buds to open, d) lengthen the life of the flowers. Snipping the corner off a one-dose sachet and adding it to the vase water is simple and effective - and scientifically tested to make your flowers last longer.

Use lukewarm water - there's less oxygen in it, and helps prevent air bubbles in the stem that will block water uptake. It also encourages some flowers to open up. The only exception to this is spring bulb flowers like daffodils and tulips which prefer cold water.

Use thoroughly clean vases - bacteria kills flowers.

Cut stems at an angle.This gives the stem a bigger area to take up more water, and stops it resting on the bottom of the vase and sealing itself.

Follow the care and conditioning stages outlined above to prolong the life and beauty of the flowers.


Smash or pierce the stems, or use blunt scissors, as this destroys the water vessels and inhibits water uptake, and causes bacteria to multiple more quickly and over a larger area. It also causes the flower undue stress which shortens its life.

Mix daffodils and narcissi with other flowers. They emit latex from their stems when cut, which is known as `daffodil slime', and shortens the life of other flowers. Keep daffodils alone in vases, or use the special bulb cut flower food which makes them safe to mix with other flowers. You can place the daffodils in a bucket of water for at least 12 hours on their own and then arrange them with other flowers, making sure you do not cut the stem again.

Put flowers near ripening fruit ? it releases tiny amounts of ethylene gas which prematurely ages flowers. Dying flowers do the same so always remove them from the vase.

Place flowers in a draught which chills the flowers, or in bright sunlight which encourages bacteria to breed. Keep them away from over-warm central heating.

Put copper coins, aspirin, lemonade, or bleach in the water. They're popular tricks but they don't work, and they can't feed your flowers adequately. Homemade formulas are messy, time-consuming and do more harm than good. Follow the care and conditioning tips for best results.

How do I care for my planted arrangements?

Care instructions for indoor planted arrangements:

Keep your arrangement in a well-lit position at 13-21C away from draughts and direct sunlight

Keep moist at all times but do not over water and never let the arrangement dry out

Remove any dying leaves or flowers as soon as you see them

After flowering has finished, replant bulbs in the garden and other healthy plants in individual pots to extend life

Care instructions for Orchids:

Imagine Florist New Malden - Phaenopsis Orchid

Orchids are easy to look after when kept in a light position at a temperature not less than 16.5C, but away from direct sunlight and draughts.

Wait until the soil is almost dry before watering again (approx once a week)

Feed with half strength house plant food, 3 waterings out of 4 during the summer. Reduce watering in the winter

After flowering has finished, cut the flower stem down to 10-15cm except for Phaenopsis, which should be left long and should only be cut back to the 2nd or 3rd node.

Care instructions for outdoor planted arrangements:

Our outdoor arrangements are easy to look after and can be put in a sunny or shady position.

Keep raised off the ground to allow free drainage and protect from frost damage during winter months

Keep moist at all times

To prolong flowering, remove all faded and dying flowers regularly

If you have any specific questions relating to care of your flowers or plants please Contact Imagine Florist New Malden