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Caring for your flowers

With the right love and care your plants can continue to blossom healthily for longer

Flower care

Partner & Head Florist, Chris Wood, shares his advice on caring for cut flowers, from choosing the right vase to tips on how to prolong your bouquet of roses

How do I care for my letterbox flowers?

Our freshly picked letterbox flowers are delivered still in bud so you can enjoy them for longer. If they aren’t looking their best on arrival, they’re simply thirsty after their journey. Give them a drink, and they’ll perk up within 24 hours. It can take a day or two for your flowers to open up, but it’ll be quicker if you follow our 7 tips:

1. Clean your vase thoroughly. Any lingering bacteria will make your flowers wilt faster

2. Fill the vase two-thirds with fresh, lukewarm water and add your flower food. Top up the water the day after receiving your flowers, rather than changing it completely – this way, they benefit from the food for longer

3. Remove any foliage that will sit below the waterline to avoid build-up of debris. If your flowers include roses, you may notice some discoloured outer petals. These are guard petals, which protect the inner petals. Gently remove 2-3 guard petals to reveal these

4. Trim about 2-3cm from the bottom of the stems at a 45-degree angle. We recommend varying the stem length to give your arrangement a height range

5. Change the water regularly after the second day. Just like us, flowers love clean water

6. Keep your flowers out of direct sunlight to prolong their life

7. Remove any wilted flowers. Besides not looking as attractive, they can spread mould onto the others

How do I choose a vase?

Choose a vase that's half the height of the flowers. If the bouquet is bottom-heavy, use a narrower vase, if the top is overpowering, use a wider one. Make sure that your vase is clean before use. Leave the vase to dry naturally, as using a towel can reintroduce bacteria which may cause your flowers to deteriorate quicker.

How much water do I add to a vase?

Fill the vase two-thirds with water - use lukewarm water as flowers can drink this more quickly. Avoid using hot or cold water as this can shock delicate flowers. If needed, leave the filled vase to sit to allow the water to reach room temperature and let any air bubbles escape. Add the flower food - this contains sugar to feed the flowers and bleach which slows the growth of algae and bacteria. Algae clogs up the stems and makes it harder for the flowers to drink.

Why should I trim my flower stems?

Flower stems dry out after they have been picked. We send flowers in bud when they are full of stored water, but they will be thirsty on arrival. Cut about 2-3cm from the bottom of the stems at a 45-degree angle. This stops the stems from resting on the bottom of the vase and increases the surface area of them - allowing for better water uptake. Remove any foliage that will sit below the waterline, as this will decompose quickly and increase the build up of debris in the vase. Top tip: cut the stems with sharp scissors, and cut thick-stemmed flowers such as amaryllis with a sharp knife. Blunt scissors or dull instruments can crush the stems and prevent the flowers from properly absorbing water.

Where should I keep my flowers?

Cut flowers last longer in cool conditions. To prevent flowers from drying out and wilting, keep them away from drafts and heat sources. Avoid placing them where they will be exposed to direct sunlight or on top of radiators. If you place them near a window, the flowers can also quickly get damaged. Top tip: keep your flowers away from the fruit bowl, especially if it contains apples. Apples and other fruit give off ethylene gas which causes flowers to deteriorate.

Can I keep flowers in their gift bag/hat box?

While a gift bag or box full of flowers delivers a great first impression, they should be transferred to a vase as soon as possible to prolong their life.

How often should I change the water for my bouquet?

Top up the water every other day and change it immediately if you notice the water has turned cloudy. Even with flower food, bacteria eventually builds up in the vase and can clog up the stems, preventing flowers from drinking. Remove any dead or wilting stems from the arrangement, clean the vase with warm, soapy water and rinse thoroughly before refilling.

Chris Wood, Partner & Head Florist, says: "To keep your flowers blooming beautifully, make sure you trim the stems and refresh their water every few days. This will help extend their vase life."

How do I care for my roses?

On arrival, you may notice some outer petals look discoloured or like they are wilting. These are guard petals and they are there to protect the rose. Gently peel these away to allow your roses to bloom. A roses stem should be cut underwater. This prevents air bubbles from forming in the stem which can cause the roses to droop early. Top tip: if after a few days your roses start to droop, submerge the roses underwater and cut the stems again. Gently shake the stem to allow any air bubbles to escape.

How do I care for my tulips?

Unlike most cut flowers, tulips continue to grow throughout their vase life, and their stems can increase in length by several inches. To prevent tulips from bending, choose a vase that supports at least half of the stem length.Trim the stems regularly and rotate your vase every few days. If a tulip starts to droop, try pricking the stem just below the flower head with a pin to let out any air. Re-cut the bottom of the stem and place in a glass of water for an hour.