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How to: Pick the Freshest Market Flowers

How To Mar 6, 2014

Ever wondered why your beautiful bunch of roses lasted a mere day and a half once you got them home? I know I have! On a recent trip to source flowers for our DIYs, floral artist Gemma gave me the lowdown on what to do (i.e. all the things I’ve been doing wrong) to make sure I get the freshest, and thus most long lasting, bunch of florals.

Floral buying tips:

  • This one’s pretty well known, but make sure to choose flowers with some unopened buds (although there is the odd flower that should be bought fully open so ask your florist). However, make sure to avoid flowers with tightly shut green buds, which were not given enough time to mature before cutting and probably won’t open before they die in your vase (doh!).
  • Try to buy in season or locally sourced flowers. Ask your florist about this – chances are that if your flowers have had to travel from further away they’re more likely to be older and have been knocked around.
  • Make sure you check the cut stem ends. Super fresh flowers will look freshly cut (they should be white/green), if they’re split, dark or curling on the ends, they’ve most likely been sitting around for a while. Slight discolouration may be fixed with a trim when you get home, but if they are rotten all the way up the stem – keep on walkin’.
  • On the same token, if the stem is bent anywhere along it, it will have problems absorbing water, so avoid those too.
  • If the flowers are sitting in water (they should be!) check what the water looks like. If it’s muddy or look slimy, chances are the flowers aren’t that fresh, and will have probably started rotting. Rotting = you’ll get half an hour out of them.
  • The first thing to die is the leaves of a flower, so they act as a sort of ‘canary in the mine’ – if they’re looking a bit sad and yellow, that means the flowers are going to follow suit shortly.
  • The flower petals themselves should be firm and not wilting or squishy, so make sure you look at the petals before you hand over your cash.
  • Last but not least, make friends with your florist or flower stall owner, be nice and smile and they’ll be more likely to give you flowers they know will last longer.


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