While putting some freshly cut onion blossoms from my garden in a vase, my mom said, "Did you know flowers, like humans, prefer filtered water to tap?" Skeptical but curious, I responded, "No way, mom! Who told you that?" She claimed she gleaned that information from her last flower class. She couldn't recall why that's the case exactly, so we reached out to the teacher of the class, Dundee Butcher, who owns a flower school called Russian River Flowers in Healdsburg, CA.
Dundee responded, "When I took my very first flower course in London, a huge part of what we covered was 'conditioning and caring for flowers.' It is so important as to how long they last." According to Dundee, proper conditioning involves cutting the stems when they are cool and stripping excess leaves off, because "the water goes to the leaves first, so the more leaves you leave on, the harder it is for the water to go to the flower head." Makes sense!
"Flowers last longer if you let them 'harden' 24 hours before using them in an arrangement," Dundee added. This means storing the stripped and snipped stems in very clean water ("They don't like dirty buckets or bacteria in their water!") in a cold room or wine cellar (a room at "50-ish degrees is preferable"). Once the arrangement is in place, how often should you change the water? In the words of Dundee's first floral teacher, "Flowers like to drink the same level of clean water that you drink! Do you want to drink dirty water?" Dundee recommends snipping the ends and giving the flowers fresh, filtered water every two to three days. Do this and she promises "they will stay fresh longer."
Especially during the intense Summer heat, it can be a disappointment for a bouquet of flowers to wilt prematurely. As silly as it sounds, I guess I'll be feeding cut flowers my refrigerated, Brita filtered water from now on!