Floral design guru Michael Pellegrino, co-owner of Toronto's Teatro Verde, gets asked the same question all the time: "How do I make my floral arrangements last longer?" Well, says Michael, it depends on how you care for them. Here, he shares six tips for keeping your flowers looking fresh.
1 Fill containers at least three-quarters full so flowers have enough water.
2 Use tepid water, not hot or cold. "It relaxes and conditions the flowers, and is especially important if they've been out of water for a little while," says Michael. "It revives them."
3 Stir in floral food, or, if you have none on hand, a pinch of sugar. "We've done several tests with floral food in the store," says Michael. "We'll put five stems in treated water and five stems in non-treated water, and we definitely see a difference in the longevity of the flowers."
4 Refresh water every few days. "Flowers can drink up a lot of water, especially in the first couple of days," says Michael. "So be sure to check the water level."
5 Re-cut stems and clean them of algae approximately every three days. "Cutting your stems as the days go on will make flowers last longer," says Michael. For example, start with an arrangement of long-stem roses, which are about 50 cm long each. After two days, cut them to about 25 cm; three or four days after that, cut again; then keep snipping every few days until you have just two inches of stem. "You can put those in little julep cups. Divide the flowers and make little arrangements for along the kitchen counter or along the table," he says. "We use roses for our displays at Teatro Verde and we can get three or four weeks out of them."
6 Keep your flowers out of direct sunlight. "Flowers don't like the heat," says Michael. "But they do like to be somewhere where there's a lot of natural light."