The Forgotten Element?

How to Look After Your Flowers When You Get Them Home From the Florist

When you buy flowers from a florist shop, they should be in perfect condition. However, if you want to keep them that way, there are a few guidelines you should follow.

Cut the stems

The stems of your flowers should be cut neatly to ensure they can take up water. Cut them diagonally to maximise the amount the water they can take up and use a pair of sharp scissors or a sharp knife if the stems are very tough. Do not use blunt instruments to cut them, and don't bash the stems—this could lead to damage to the vascular cells at the bottom of the stems, which will stop them from taking up the water they need.

Food and water

Fill a vase about two-thirds full with clean, lukewarm water—don't use hot or cold water, as this can cause too much of a shock to the flowers. Add any flower food you were given by your florist, according to the instructions they gave you. This food is very important—it contains sugars and other nutrients that will prolong the life of the plants. You can then place your flowers in the vase, taking care that no leaves are under the water, as this can cause harmful bacteria to form and use up the nutrients too quickly.


Your flowers will do best at room temperature (although you should take any advice your florist gives you about the needs of a specific type of flower). Try to keep them at a fairly constant temperature, and keep them away from sources of heat or cold air such as radiators or ceiling fans. You should also keep them out of direct sunlight or draughts—a cool, shaded place is best.

Change the water

The water for your flowers should be changed every few days, particularly if it has become cloudy—this could mean that bacteria have formed in the water, which could stop your flowers from absorbing the water they need. Remember to add more flower food when you have changed the water. You should re-cut the stems before putting them back in, and take the opportunity to trim off any dead leaves or flower heads.

Remember to take any advice your florist gives you about how to look after your flowers, and they should remain a bright and cheering centrepiece for your home and office for as long as possible. Contact a local florist for more information.