It may seem like a lot of effort, but a little hands-on care can really go a long way to extending the life and enjoyment of your flowers. Once you get into it, I think you'll even look forward to the almost meditative process of caring for your stems.
- the biggest stem killer is bacteria. eliminate the growth by trimming their stems every couple days and keeping the water fresh. also be sure that there is no foliage at or below the waterline as that promotes the growth of bacteria.
- when trimming flowers, be sure to give stems a clean cut at a 45 degree angle. this exposes the greatest surface area of the stem and allows the flower to drink up as much water as it can.
- if you're transporting flowers to a new vase, be sure the vase is rinsed clean (and free of soap) before adding the flowers. this is also a good time to trim the stems and rinse them with cool water.
- be sure to keep flowers away from anything that emits heat such as a television or heating/cooling unit. keeping your blooms out of direct sunlight will also preserve their lifespan. in the winter, be wary of air that is too cold. it will wilt certain flowers - anemones in particular - very quickly. wrap them in paper and cover them for insulation when transporting.
- toss bad stems. they'll spoil the bunch. same goes for bad leaves or petals. sad looking things are only stealing nutrients from the rest of the healthy flower.
- place your flowers in fresh water as soon as is practicable. if it's going to be awhile, you can also resoak the wrap at the base of the stems.
- if your roses are feeling a little soft, try giving the stems a fresh cut and placing them (roses only) in a glass of hot water. leave them there til the water cools and then return to vase. this goes against what we often think of for flower care, but the hot water will usually perk them right up.
- spread the wealth. separating out a few single stems to place around your space can make a big impact. try it with fragrant eucalyptus, a sprig of wax flower, or a single rose.