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The best blooms.

Expert advice on how to get the most from one of life's most lovely pleasures - fresh flowers.

May 1, 2017

Words: Rhi Thomholt
Images: Rhi Thomholt

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Fresh flowers are undoubtedly one of life’s simple, but greatest pleasures. Flowers can transform your mood or the ambience of a room. As with many of life’s pleasures, cut flowers don’t last forever. However, I can help you to get the most from your beautiful blooms before they return to the earth.

It’s essential that you consider the source your flowers, as the treatment of the flowers before purchase makes a heck of a difference. Unfortunately, flowers sold at supermarkets, green grocers and service stations won’t ever last as long as a bouquet bought from a quality florist or market.

You may laugh and exclaim, “Of course a florist would say that!”

Here’s why. Typically, flowers at the aforementioned venues haven’t had their water changed or the stems trimmed frequently, if at all. Not to mention the constant temperature changes (hot and cold temperature extremes) especially if they’re near the entrance to the store, exposure to ethylene gas from vehicles or ripening fruit, and plastic wrapping prevents airflow circulating around flowers. All of these factors will shorten the lifespan of the flowers, and that’s before you’ve even got them home!

Now, when selecting cut flowers remember the following key items (and not to upset your lovely partner like that ever again!):
Stems should be firm with no signs of fungal infections (dark marks) or rust.

Foliage should be strong in colour and undamaged. Removed foliage can be a sign of old stock.

Take a look at the centre of your blooms – lots of pollen is a sign of old age.

Buds should have colour.

Flowers should always be sold with a water source.


The water that the flowers are sitting in should be clean and clear.


Flowers should never be sold in plastic wrapping. Not only is this bad for the environment, but flowers will sweat in plastic; causing bacteria to grow and make the flowers deteriorate more quickly.

Once your flowers are home, sweet home, you’ll need to provide a bit of continued care to ensure they last the distance. Re-cutting the stems at a sharp angle every few days, changing the water, cleaning the vase, removing leaves that sit below the waterline and keeping the flowers away from direct sun, air conditioners/heaters and draughty areas all promote longevity.

For more information, visit me, Rhi, at

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