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a home + living guide for the post-college, pre-parenthood, quasi-adult generation

01.20.2003

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flower power flower arranging for hipsters
by Kathryn O'Halloran
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continued from page 3

Make your flowers last longer: Of course, you donít want to spend all that time and money making a floral masterpiece only to have it all ruined a few days later when the flowers start to wilt.  It only takes a tiny bit of extra care to keep blooms fresh for longer.

  • Always wash vases and other containers that hold flowers with bleach.  This will make them sparkle and kill any nasty bacteria.
  • The best flowers will have clean stems and be sitting in clean water.  You donít want flowers that have been sitting around the store too long.
  • Donít buy flowers that are already open, unless you are buying them for a specific purpose and need them looking their best that day.  If the flowers are open, they will only last another day or two.
  • Donít worry about buying flower food or commercial products to make your flowers last.  You can do the same thing by adding a drop of bleach (just one) and a tiny amount of sugar and lemon juice (1/4 teaspoon or less) to the flower water.
  • Trim the flower stalks before you add them to the vase.  This will help the flowers absorb more water so they last longer. 
  • Donít put vases on heaters, in a draft or right up against windows.
  • All flowers benefit from having their water changed every 2 days.

Of course, different flowers need different care.  How do you look after specific flowers?   

Roses should be kept cool and need lots of water.
Gerberas only need a little water.  The stems should be trimmed regularly.  To stop them from drooping wrap the stems with florist wire.
Daisies and lilies thrive in fresh water.
Poppies need to be kept cool.  They tend not be very long lived as cut flowers anyway.
Tropical flowers like orchids should be sprayed with a mister.
Irises donít like fluoride so if your tap water is fluorinated, let the water sit for a few hours before adding them.
Tulips will grow around 10cm after they are cut so make sure you trim them regularly.  They grow toward the light so turn the vase every day so they donít get lopsided.

o o o

So forget about your fears: filling your home with color and fragrance doesnít doom you to life as an old maid but adds a touch of beauty to everyday life.  

Kathryn O'Halloran fights the urge to strip wallpaper in her rented home in Melbourne, Australia. Her online life is lived at Jazzy Hands.

check out these related articles: 
makeshift vasesindoor herb garden

more articles by Kathryn O'Halloran:
80s party | decorating scents | a room of my own 
 

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