Lifestyles

MINTER: Winter is wonderful for fresh-cut flowers

Winter flowers are wonderful, writes gardening columnist Brian Minter in The Tri-City News. - photo submitted
Winter flowers are wonderful, writes gardening columnist Brian Minter in The Tri-City News.
— image credit: photo submitted

If you enjoy having fresh cut flowers in your home, especially during the holiday season, take a look at some of the many new, long-lasting varieties now available. They add so much colour and fragrance to the festive season and with proper care their lifespan can be almost doubled.

Cleanliness is the single most important factor in making fresh flowers last. Dirty vases are no place for fresh flowers. Not only should they be clean, but a few drops of bleach should also be added to the water to kill any bacteria that can reduce the capillary action of water flowing up the stems. The water should be warm and the addition of floral preservatives will greatly extend the lifespan of your cut flowers.

It is always a good idea to re-cut the stems on all fresh flowers the moment you receive them, but it is very important to make that cut while the end of the stem is held underwater. Special machines are now available to florists for doing just that. Another re-cut should be done in about a week to keep that water flowing.

Research has also proven that exposure to constant, rather than fluctuating temperatures, increases the lifespan of flowers. In other words, keep them at a reasonably cool room temperature rather than in a hot sunroom by day and in the cold at night.

I would never discourage anyone from picking up fresh cinnamon-scented carnations or long lasting chrysanthemums at this time of year, however, I would suggest trying a few different flowers that have great keeping qualities as well. Locally grown anthuriums are exotic looking. They are also very reasonably priced, as are cymbidium orchid stems, another long lasting flower. Colourful  alstromerias fit in nicely with any bouquet. If you are really tropical minded, South African proteas last and last.

Spring flowers are now here and ready to bring a breath of fresh colour to brighten our winter spirits. Tulips, pussy willows and iris push aside those winter blues.

We’re right in the middle of the cool, dark days of winter and fresh flowers brighten everyone’s spirits. According to research, fresh flowers are the gift that makes people the happiest.  Although prices will vary, always buy quality and look for both fragrance and varieties that last.

 

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