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How to Make Mother’s Day Flowers Last

by Christina Cabot
Sunday–today–is Mother’s Day, a day when all the moms in our lives should be honored with a gesture of gratitude and beauty. There are many ways of saying thanks, of course, but my personal favorite is to give flowers. Here are a few tips on selecting flowers for moms special day, and some suggestions for making them last, too.
Begin with high-quality flowers kept in a vase ¾ full changing the water each day. If you trim the stems every two days with a sharp knife or shear at a sharp angle, you will extend the life of the flowers considerably. Before placing in your vase, you should remove all lower leaves that would rot below water level.
Foliage in water will decay and soon smell awful; also, rotting leaves will not look very pretty in your otherwise lovely arrangement! Make sure to keep your arrangement out of harsh sunlight and try to keep the flowers in the spot you originally placed them.  It sounds crazy, but even really subtle temperature/location changes can make a difference! In the wintertime, when heat in the home is usually cranked up, I always suggest misting your flowers to restore some of the moisture lost in dry air.
Many florists choose to arrange flowers using foam (usually green) to hold the flowers in place. There are times when using this floral foam is necessary for the design of the arrangement, and is a wonderful way to present your flowers if the aesthetic choice supports a highly constructed look. For a floral designer, it is actually easier to create an arrangement this way.  Yes, water can be added to the foam (which tends to dry out more quickly than you’d think), but you’ll never be able to fully change the water.  For this reason, try to stick with stems placed directly in the container. If properly placed, they will be secure and their natural beauty will be able to shine through.
Something we get asked a lot is if a thing like adding aspirin to water actually makes a difference. I know that opinions on this vary widely, and who am I to dissuade anyone from what may be a time-honored tradition in their home? But I feel that it does not help to keep flowers alive any longer.  Nor, in my experience, do the little packets florists give out for adding to the water.
As a born-and-bred NYC gal, I always got my flowers from a near-by deli. Although I had grown up seeing my grandmother’s garden flowers full and open and hearty, I had just always assumed that the ones bought in stores were destined to be, well, puny and short-living! When I would get a flower delivery from a phone-a-florist I didn’t expect to actually have them around for more than a few days. Then 20 years ago, I met my best-friend Diego, a life-long flower lover and floral designer who taught me that an arrangement can and will thrive with just a little extra attention. We’ve learned that soil quality can make a big difference in the quality of your bouquet. Have a happy Mother’s Day!

Christina Cabot was a co-owner at Winter Wednesday Flowers, a luxury flower destination in Nyack. 




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