When I was a kid, I thought one of the ultimate status symbols of being “rich” was to always have fresh flowers in the home. Adults seemed to complain — especially on days like Valentine’s Day — how ridiculous it was to waste money on something so frivolous and short-lived. So, with my kid brain, I assumed that only those making some serious dough could even afford to have fresh flowers on a regular basis. And it made me think of that someday in my future (as all kids often daydream about making millions and owning their own planet, right?) when a steady supply of fresh flowers would be my reality.
But as it turns out — if you know where to look — you can actually find pretty good bargains on common flowers like roses, lilies, and more (and not just on holidays). I usually try not to spend more than $5 at a time on a given bouquet, but when I’m needing something to brighten one of my interior photos or simply in the mood for a pick-me-up, flowers are an easy choice. Over time, I’ve learned that there are a few tricks for finding a decent bouquet and helping it to last as long as possible.
1. Know where to shop.
Two of the least expensive places where I’ve found pretty floral bouquets are Aldi and Trader Joe’s. I suppose it doesn’t hurt that they are both owned by the same parent company, but I tend to like the selection of Trader Joe’s a little better. I’ll occasionally pick one up at Aldi instead if I happen to be shopping there instead, but I find the bouquets are more brightly colored at Aldi when I tend to go for muted tons (like white or a soft pink). On rarer occasions I might pick up a mix of greenery instead from Kroger, which is also usually pretty inexpensive (and the variety in the leaves is pretty for photos).
2. Go for the closed bouquet.
Whenever I pick out things like lilies or roses, I go for the bouquet that has mostly closed buds that have yet to open up. They tend to last a few extra days.
3. Clean the vase thoroughly between bouquets.
Whenever I toss out a wilted bouquet, I give the vase a scrubbing and wipe it down before adding more. It may be mainly residue of old water, but any kind of existing bacteria for the vase before you put new flowers in will age the new bouquet a lot faster.
4. Cut the stems at an angle & under water.
As soon as I’m home, I’ll cut the bottom of each stem off about an inch from the end. I’m not sure where I picked up the “under water” part, but I will either use a bowl of water to submerge the ends of the stems before cutting or run the stems one at a time directly under the faucet, then cut at an angle. The angled cut gives the tip more surface area to soak up the flower food + water mix.
5. Remove any leaves that will touch the water.
In addition to cutting the stems, I also trim off any leaves or greenery that fall near or below the water line.
6. Use the flower food packet (or a DIY mix) daily.
Within a day or two, the buds will begin to open up. I’m recommending to switch out the water daily, but I tend to forget after day 3 or 4. Still, it’s a good habit to mix in the powder that comes with the bouquet into the water when you switch things out. I also re-trim the ends when I switch out the water. Flower food (the stuff in the little packet that comes attached to the stems with a rubber band) has been consistently shown to last longer than other methods (like aspirin, Sprite, bleach, hairspray, etc.). If you run out and your flowers are still going strong, a mix of sugar and vinegar has also been proven to provide both the food the flowers need to open up and the vinegar helps keep bacteria growth at bay.
7. Keep the bouquet cool (if you can).
If I’m shopping and with a friend or if I am just too tired when I get home to set up the bouquet yet, I’ll stick the flowers in the fridge until I get around to it. If you ever go by the grocery store, you’re probably familiar with this trick since there always seems to be a refrigeration area nearby.
On average, I tend to keep flowers going for about 7 days… 9 if I’m really lucky (lilies seem to last a good while in particular). Some flowers continue to look kind of cool as they dry out, like hydrangeas, but no matter which ones I pick, it always feels pretty luxurious to have these beauties around.
Do you have any tricks you like to use for your flowers? And I hope you have a Happy Valentine’s Day!