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Beautiful fresh cut flowers – how to make them last!

 

flower_careAs flower lover I always take a detailed care to ensure my flowers stay as fresh and beautiful as possible and so can you.

To achieve maximum enjoyment and longevity from your fresh flowers, you need to provide them with a little care when they arrive at your door.

What is required is very simple. Here are a few easy steps that will ensure your flowers will look great and last for as long as possible.

Start with a clean vase and clean water! Bacteria are the number one cause for short vase life of fresh cut flower bouquets. Bacteria and fungi are everywhere and are ready to enter the cut surface of the stem and multiply. A plant’s root system serves as a filter to limit dirt, micro-organisms and chemicals from entering and blocking the plant’s ability to absorb water. When the flower is cut off from its life-sustaining root system, it loses this vital filter. Prior to actual decay symptoms, cells of the water-transporting tissues can become blocked with micro-organisms, inhibiting water uptake.

It is very important to always use clean vase and water in order to protect and preserve the flowers.

Use the Flower Food sachet, provided by your florist. While the flower is attached to the plant, it receives nourishment allowing it to grow and develop. When cut from the plant, it loses its source of nourishment and water.

Flower Food has been developed to simulate the flower’s original environment, it allows the flowers to fully develop and can increase the vase life of cut flowers. Commercial Fresh Flower Food is scientifically developed formula, carefully balanced mixture generally containing:

 Sucrose (sugar) – it serves as a source of energy (food). Like all other living things flowers require food energy. Too much sugar can be a bad thing, as it can “force” the life cycle of the flower to proceed faster than normal.

 Acidifier - most water supplies are alkaline and can reduce the life of cut flowers, an acidifier will help bring the waters pH closer to the acid pH of the cell sap. Slightly acidic water is taken up more readily through the stems than water that is neutral or alkaline. The acidifier also aids in stabilizing the pigment and the colour of the flowers.

Bactericide - designed to limit the growth of bacteria in the water. Bacteria, just like the flowers are growing on sugar. Because cells of the water-transporting tissues in flowers can become blocked with microorganisms, inhibiting the flowers ability to hydrate and severely reducing longevity we need something to limit it bacteria’s growth, in order to protect the flowers.

Follow the directions on the package and always use the recommended amount.

Always re-cut Stems & Remove Foliage. Make sure to always re-cut the stems (preferably at an angle) removing at least an inch of the stem. Use a sharp knife or clippers and avoid crushing the stem and therefore the vascular system. The slanted cut opens more stem area for hydration and prevents the end of the stem from resting directly on the bottom of the vase blocking the water flow.

Leaves sitting in water will deteriorate and rot. Decaying leaves are a good medium for bacteria and fungi, which will plug the stems and prevent hydration. Do not remove all leaves along the stem; the flowers require the leaves as part of their hydration process, only the one that will go below the water level. Check the water level daily and replenish as needed. If the water becomes cloudy, it should be completely exchanged for fresh.

Keep flowers away from drafts, direct sunlight, and ripening fruits, which emit ethylene gas, which can causes buds to remain closed, petals to have poor colour, and flowers to have a shortened vase life. Discard wilted blooms.

Enjoy your dose of fresh flowers. Recommended daily!

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Flower of the month – Amaryllis!

amaryllis

 

Amaryllis has become one of the signature flowers of the Holiday Season. Either planted or in fresh-cut arrangement it’s a statement on its own.

Amaryllis is a small genus of flowering bulbs, with two species. The better known of the two, Amaryllis belladonna, is a native of the Western Cape region of South Africa. For many years there was confusion amongst botanists over the generic names Amaryllis and Hippeastrum, one result of which is that the common name “amaryllis” is mainly used for cultivars of the genus Hippeastrum, widely sold in the winter months for their ability to bloom indoors. Plants of the genus Amaryllis are known as Belladonna lily, Jersey lily, Naked lady, Amarillo or, in South Africa, March lily due to its ability to flower around March. This is one of numerous genera with the common name “lily” due to their flower shape and growth habit. However, they are only distantly related to the true lily, Lilium.

Amaryllis comes in many beautiful varieties including various shades of red, white, pink, salmon and orange.  There are also many striped and multicolored varieties, usually combining shades of pink or red with white.

Of all flowering bulbs, amaryllis is the easiest to bring to bloom.  This can be accomplished indoors or out, and over an extended period of time.

Quick Tips for taking care of planted Amaryllis bulb:

  • Planting Period:  October until the end of April.
  • Flowering Period:  Late December until the end of June.
  • Flowering time is 7-10 weeks.
  • Larger bulbs produce more flowers.
  • Always store un-planted bulbs in a cool place between 8-10 deg. Celsius.

Plant bulbs in nutritious potting compost, many are available pre-mixed.  Plant the bulb up to its neck in the potting compost, being careful not to damage the roots.  Plant the bulb, or place the potted bulb in a warm place with direct light since heat is necessary for the development of the stems. Water sparingly until the stem appears, then, as the bud and leaves appear, gradually water more.  At this point, the stem will grow rapidly and flowers will develop after it has reached full growth. Bulbs will flower in 7-10 weeks as a general rule.  In winter the flowering time will be longer than in spring.

After the amaryllis has stopped flowering, it can be made to flower again.  Cut the old flowers from the stem after flowering, and when the stem starts to sag, cut it back to the top of the bulb.

Continue to water and fertilize as normal all summer, or for at least 5-6 months, allowing the leaves to fully develop and grow. When the leaves begin to yellow, which normally occurs in the early fall, cut the leaves back to about 2 inches from the top of the bulb and remove the bulb from the soil. Clean the bulb and place it in a cool (8-10 deg. C), dark place such as the crisper of your refrigerator for a minimum of 6 weeks. After 6 weeks you may remove bulbs whenever you would like to plant them. Plant bulbs 8 weeks before you would like them to bloom.

Amaryllis as a fresh-cut flower is very popular in the winter months, especially during the Holiday season. It is used in bouquets, vase arrangements, for creating stunning centerpieces and statements.

Working with fresh-cut Amaryllis blooms can be tricky considering that the stem is hollow and tends to split and curl up when it’s cut. A little professional secret is to tape the stem at the place you are going to cut and then cut it, this way it won’t curl up.

Enjoy this amazing flower this season. Get some potted bulbs or order a fresh flower arrangement.

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Flower of the Month

At the beginning of every month I will present a new Flower of the Month.

How can you tell which one is the right Flower of the month, there are so many and everybody has its own favourite and version on the topic.

My approach will be based on the flowers and plants natural life cycle, market availability, their popularity and consumers interest.

I’ll give you tips on how to take care of them, detailed information, symbolism, meaning, usage and much more.

Get ready to learn more with my adventures in the world of FLOWERS!

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