How long do cut flowers last?

How long will my flowers last?

It’s a good question. I try to design our MeadowSweet posies with ingredients that will last at least 5 days, and often much longer. I find customers are typically pleasantly surprised how long they do last, and they can keep their posies ticking along nicely, maybe picking out one or two bits along the way that are more short-lived than the rest. The posies have lots of ingredients so inevitably some components will last longer than others.

Supermarkets demand a shelf-life of at least 11 days from their suppliers because it may take up to a week to get them to the shop floor with 90% of their blooms coming cold-chain airfreighted from flower farms all over the world. At MeadowSweet we only use homegrown and British flowers and I like to include a wide range of blooms that you will never find in a supermarket. They don't have to travel far to get to me to start with, which means a quick turnaround to get them to you as fast as I can.

Some of our fragrant and more unusual flowers can be naturally softer than the supermarket staples of chrysanthemums and lilies (yawn!) but if they don't last quite so long then so be it. I feel a 'shooting star' of a flower that delights us and reminds us how beautiful our world can be is far more magical than staring at the same boring flowers all the time!

Different times of year affect longevity too. The softer spring flowers don’t tend to last quite so well as the woody-stemmed winter ones; cooler weather means cut flowers last longer than hotter weather. However I am mindful of all of that, so I try to make sure I use ingredients as they are opening and that will have a good vase life whatever the season.

As a customer, the best thing you can do to keep your cut flowers fresh is to display them somewhere cool and out of direct sunlight. Changing the water regularly is also really important to prevent any build up of bacteria in the water that starts to decay the stems and prevent good uptake of water. Flower food sachets can help to keep the water clear and provide food for your flowers. Flower food is typically a mixture of citric acid like lemon juice (to keep pH of water down which encourages uptake), sugar (as a food for the flowers) and bleach (to kill bacteria in the water). If you're a very responsible posy owner it is also great to recut the stems every few days as this also makes sure the stem 'tubes' are clean and open for optimum water uptake. Lastly, don't forget to give your jars a really good clean. Use lemon juice or a drop of bleach and give them a good scrub with warm water and a brush. Often cut flowers don't last as long as they should because the vases we use were not clean to begin with.

Weekly customers get to follow the seasonal changes and enjoy the full range of flowers on offer throughout the year. Having flowers regularly means you are always looking at fresh flowers as they are refreshed weekly. Flowers make us happy and reduce our stress levels - pretty important these days I reckon!

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