Tips for keeping floral cuffs—and any arrangement without a water source—fresh
When fresh flowers are designed in a collection of materials without a water source:
- Add small water tubes to each individual flower stem and tuck the tubes out of sight or place them strategically as a part of the pattern.
- Be sure to carefully process the flowers in advance with proper flower foods. As an added precaution, use Floralife’s Quick Dip for all flowers except for spring bulb flowers.
- Delicate flowers such as gardenias, stephanotis or lily of the valley can be misted with water, covered with damp paper toweling and sealed inside a plastic bag for storage. This process will assist in keeping them fresh and discourage browning prior to design.
- When using flowers with little or no stem such as gardenias, cymbidium or phalaenopsis orchids, clusters of hydrangea or stephanotis, snip the end of the stem and float the blooms in a bowl of lukewarm water for about 30 minutes to allow the flower to hydrate completely. Then remove the blooms and drain on paper toweling. Glue or wire and tape into the bouquet as needed.
- When designing with flower buds that will not have a water source, dip the stem of the bloom in hot candle wax to sear the end, seal in moisture and encourage longevity.
- To use fresh outdoors foliage such as ivy, cut and soak in cool water until crisp. Drain water off. Mist individually with a foliage preservative like Floralife’s Leafshine and polish leaves with a drying cloth.
- When wiring individual flowers into a structure, add a touch of cold adhesive to the stem of each flower before wiring it. As the flower stems shrink from de-hydration they can come loose. The glue will help to secure them in place.
- The combination of cold temperature and moisture requires that you select a cold-hardy floral adhesive, such as OASIS Floral Adhesive, when securing items that will be refrigerated. Allow to completely dry before refrigeration.
- After designing a floral cuff, mist it with an anti-transpirant or finishing spray such as Floralife’s Finishing Touch or Crowning Glory. Then, cover with plastic and hang in refrigeration until the event for ultimate freshness.
Smithers-Oasis North America Design Director Sharon McGukin, AIFD, AAF, PFCI, is a speaker and author known for her “edutaining” floral design tips and Southern charm. She has four decades of design experience, is past president of AIFD and lives in Carrollton, Georgia.