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How Long Do Flowers Last Once Delivered?

This is a direct question with no direct answer, no matter how it is approached. It simply depends.

Vase life is the term that applies to the time a cut flower appears to be alive. It is always measured in days. All cut flowers are dying, so the question is, how fast or slow is the process. As a consumer, that is the person to whom the cut flowers have been delivered, there are some ways you can influence, extend or shorten, vase life and there are other things which happened to your flowers before delivery and therefore were beyond your control.

Most cut flowers begin to wilt within three to five days of delivery. Some flowers have a shorter vase life, some as long as 14 days. This is one factor over which you have no control. Nature is in charge of that. Red roses have a longer vase life than white roses, neither long. On the other hand, the person who had sent you flowers could have requested a bouquet made up of only flowers with a long vase life.

For instance, freesia or carnations, both boast of an almost two week long vase life,

Usually, cut flowers arrive at the door with a packet of preservative included. Use it as directed. But changing the water daily, or every other day, will also extend the vase life of cut flowers and that means the preservative has been thrown out with the vase water. Make your own and add it to the fresh vase water each time. A good, homemade cut flower preservative is: one teaspoon sugar, one teaspoon bleach and two tablespoons of lemon or lime juice, all mixed in warm water.

If possible, check to make sure the stems have been cut on a slant and are not resting flat against the bottom of the vase making it harder to draw water up the flower stem. If you recut the stems, make sure it is a clean, not crushing, cut.

Don't set your cut flowers in a sunny window, no matter how good they look when you first put them there. Direct sun has adverse effect on vase life. Keep them in a cooler rather than warmer spot in the room.

Chances are, your home has an odorless, colorless gas wafting around that is a bona fide vase life shortener. It is estimated 30 percent of cut flowers suffer a premature demise from this natural assassin of cut flowers. You've seen its effects when the blooms lose their deep colors, when the petals droop, or when the buds open irregularly or not at all. The culprit? Fruits and vegetables not in residing inside the refrigerator. Ethylene gas is a plant hormone given off by ripening fruits and vegetables, or any aging plant matter. It hastens ripening, aging and spoilage. Some flowers are very sensitive to it, others not so much, and some are treated to resist its effects by the growers, carnations being such a flower.

So, no matter how nice fruits and flowers visually compliment each other, have them keep their distance. It's also a good idea to remove dying flowers from the floral arrangement as they are emitting ethylene gas as well and causing their neighbors in vase to wilt faster.

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