January 29, 2014

Happy Hydrangeas... Dipped in boiling water?

I love love love hydrangeas!  So much so that when I see a beautiful bunch at the store I have a really hard time walking away without them. We all know that store stems can be pricey.  I don't have them growing in my yard, not that it would matter this time of year, but if I want them I'll have to buy them.

Not only can store stems be expensive, but some just DON'T have a long vase life. There are some tips and tricks out there to help cut flowers stay perkier for longer and I decided to give this hydrangea specific tip a try. I pinterested some ideas and this is what I decided to test.

I also love carnations! Carnations have a long vase life, especially if cared for well.  I brought these carnations home a week ago from Fred Meyer.  I have only changed and trimmed once AND they sat for a 3-4 hours in plastic before putting them into a vase because I forgot about them!  So I think they are doing rather well.  Carnations can take quite a bit of abuse if purchased at their freshest.
Its important to get the stems in water immediately so go and set them in the sink with some water asap. If you purchase them from a store, make sure you ask for the florist to pop on some of those green water vials at the ends of the stems.  For hydrangea's sake! Don't lollygag with getting them home! Don't you dare stop at your favorite boutiques first or your flowers may wilt before you get home. Not that I would know anything about that. 

I am going to give the boiling water method a try.  I prepped some boiling water in a pyrex measuring cup using the microwave and set it aside.

Fill your vase more than halfway with water.  I like to use a higher level of water for hydrangeas because of the woody stems.  For softer spongy stemmed flowers, I use a much lower level of water as they decay faster.

Some people use their own concoctions of flower food.  I like to use the little flower food packets from the florist that usually come with the stems. The flower food packs contain a sugar and bleach mix. The bleach takes care of the bacteria and the sugar does the nourishing.  A florist, my favorite florist, in Ellensburg, Washington told me to only use a tid bit.  I get several water changes from one pack of flower food.
Flower food packets from the florist and grocery store.

I hold my flowers up to the vase real quick and eyeball how long I want the stems to be. Then I use a utility blade while holding the stems under water and cut at quite and angle and leave them in the water. I also trim off most leaves so more water can go to the petals instead, helping the blooms to last longer.

This is what I have never done before... Now that you've trimmed them the length you want, dip each of the ends about an inch into the boiling water for 15 to 20 seconds.

At this point, I've read that some people like to add a slice to the end of the stem and/ or poke tiny holes up the stem where the stems would be submerged.  I didn't do the slice and poke.  I wanted to try it without the extra step first.

Hydrangeas LOVE water!  I mist my blooms with a little mister bottle that I purchased from the dollar tree a while back.  I keep the mister bottle near the vase.  Its small and discreet and I like to have it handy to mist them often. I forgot to get a picture of it but it comes in a pack with two clear travel shower bottles.  See the mister bottle that I use here.

I change my flower's water daily... HA! Who am I kidding?  Ok sometimes I forget.  But I do TRY to remember to change the water daily, if not, every couple of days.

Hydrangeas need lots of water.  Misting the blooms daily can help the vase life.

With ANY cut stems, as someone pointed out on my instagram, I trim them every couple days.  It helps the flowers last longer.  At trimming time, I remove at least the decayed section of the stem, usually darker and most often its pretty obvious.  In this case, I'll remove the boiled section which turns brown as you see in the picture below.  I'm going to reboil the stems at trimming time as well.

Cutting stems at an angle helps the stem absorb more water. The brown section shows where the stem was dipped in boiling water.
Cut flowers will last longer if kept out of direct sunlight.

There you have it!  I'll let you all know how long these blooms last!  When they start to look sad, I'm going to try submerging them and soaking them in water for a bit which I have also never done before.

See an update after 9 days using this method here

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!

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