Treasure your flowers
- Thoroughly wash and rinse your chosen vase.
- Fill the vase with fresh water and stir in the flower food which is a mixture of minerals and other nutrients missing in tap water. You will need 1 litre of water to one sachet of flower food. Be careful not to drop flower food on your clothing and do not use metal containers as the nutrients will be destroyed.
- Remove all the packaging but keep the twine in place if you want to retain the design of your bouquet.
- Using a sharp, clean knife, scissors or secateurs cut at least 2cm off each stem at a 45°angle. Flowers with woody stems should be cut at an angle and split. Do not crush stems as this destroys their molecular structure and prevents water from being absorbed. Remove any foliage which may be in the water as it will decompose and the water will begin to smell and discolour, spoiling your flowers.
- Place in a cool position avoiding direct sunlight or draughts, do not place near ripening fruit.
- Refresh the water daily.
- Arrangements that are set in an oasis should be kept moist but not waterlogged and should not be allowed to dry out.
These are personal tips and hints given by our florists.
What are your tops tips for conditioning flowers?
Clean two thirds of the stem. Just like your skin, the stem of the flower is breathing so you need to make sure that it is not just drinking from the bottom.
Put as much water possible in a plastic or glass vase. If you put it in metal containers, they will get infected by the oxidants.
Change the water every other day.
Don’t leave your flowers out of the water for more than 2 minutes after you cut them – The bottom will dry in seconds and form an air bubble.
Put bleach in water for flowers that don’t bloom such as wax flower, calla lily and tulips. Bleach slows down the growing progress.
Put flower food with flowering flowers.
If you do not have flower food the best way to extend the live of cut flowers is to add some sugar into the water.
How long should you expect a bouquet to last in Spring/Summer, Autumn/Winter?
Flowers during the spring will normally last 3 to 4 days. In winter the average time for a Hand tied bouquet has to be 5 to 6 days. Although do be aware that your central heating could make flowers die sooner.
Are there any flowers that require unusual care?
Absolutely, if a flower has woody stems they need different treatment: Cut with a knife and take 80% leaves off and place in luke warm water with flower food.
Treasure your plants
- Most plants thrive in strong light but not direct sunlight.
- A moderate room temperature is best and they should not be placed near radiators or open fires. Draughts and very low temperatures should also be avoided.
- Check your plant’s water level each day. Feel the surface of the soil with your fingertips; if slightly moist to the touch, the plant has sufficient water. Never leave a plant to stand in water, too much water can be as fatal as too little. Use tepid water, as cold water will shock the roots.
- During the winter months, growth naturally slows down, the plants become semi-dormant and they therefore need to be watered less frequently. In warm, bright weather, the atmosphere is usually drier and your plant may need more water.
- In the summer weather make sure you water your plants in the morning or late afternoon when the weather is at its coolest. If you water them in the heat of the day then the water magnifies the sun, burning the plant.
Treasure your Orchids
Orchids need a humid environment, so mist them daily throughout the summer. You can also place the plant on a tray of moist pebbles which help to retain moisture in the air around it.
- Being accustomed to the dappled light of the forest, moth orchids dislike direct sunlight, especially through glass. Indirect sunlight is ideal.
- Light is the important factor to successfully raise and bloom orchids.
- You can usually judge how much light an orchid needs by watching the leaves: You want the leaves to be a light grass green. This shows that the plant has as much light as it can stand and is trying to protect itself from burning. If the leaves become very yellow, move the plant to more shade. If the leaves become dark emerald green, move the plant to more light.
- In order to bloom the plant needs light, but not too much. Natural light in a sunny East or South facing windows is best, they like bright indirect light. Harsh South or West windows may be too bright and hot.
- Watering is the important thing to get right, and you shouldn’t water them more than once a week.
- Most orchids in the wild grow on trees or other plants, and they get moisture from the air.
- Water well from the top taking care to keep the centre of the plant dry and leave to drain.
- Don’t let your plant stand in excess water and if the pot is placed inside another container, make sure it isn’t standing in trapped water.
- If the roots are white, firm, and fleshy with green tips the orchid is healthy. Over watered orchids have few good roots, and many soggy, mushy, brown, dead ones. Most tolerate being dryer better than staying soggy, so don’t over water, but don’t let them completely dry out either.
- Rain water is recommended but distilled water can be used instead as long as you remember to add fertiliser. Occasional watering with tap water will do no harm.
- You need to raise the humidity levels around your orchid in order to get the best out of your blooms. Find a tray with gravel, and then put water in the tray and then place the orchid above it. The evaporating water will help the plants thrive in a dry environment, but again, never place orchids in standing water.
- Most orchids are epiphytes; they are air plants and won’t grow in soil. The roots need to dry slightly between waterings.
- Room temperate in most homes will be acceptable for growing orchids, anywhere between 55F at night and 80F during the day is best.
- In their native environment nearly all plants are exposed to constant breezes. Orchids are no exceptions. Moving air will help them and cut down on disease problems. A small fan will quickly pay for itself by giving you better growing conditions.
- Don’t reduce the night temperature below 12C (55 f). Although it may look fine, your plant will not bloom but just ‘tick over’. If your conditions are near to this minimum, keep your orchid quite dry.
- Higher day time temperatures are no problem as long as your plant is in a shady place and humidity and airflow are good.
- Feed your plant regularly with orchid fertiliser when you water.
- Every fourth watering leave out the fertiliser to allow any build up of salts to be washed from the compost.
- Plants in poor condition should have very low levels of fertiliser, if any, until a substantial root system is re-established.