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Now that the seasons are changing, a lot of people are moving their plants back outside to enjoy the sunlight and moderate temperatures. And of course, putting flowering plants outside is the only way to make sure they are pollinated by bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

There is a major caveat to moving your plants outside for the season make sure you wait until the nighttime temperature is well above freezing and keep the plants from getting excessive watering during the rainy spring months. Extreme temperature fluctuations and overwatering can kill your potted plants in no time. While potted plants can thrive outdoors, cut flowers have the opposite reaction.

This following explains some basic tips for prolonging the life of your cut flowers:

  1. When you receive your flowers, take a few minutes to set them up properly. Trim the tips of the stems on a bias, using a sharp knife or scissors. Fill your vase about 2/3 full with luke warm water and stir in a package of  flower food,  which usually comes with fresh flower arrangements and actually acts as an antibacterial agent to keep the water from getting slimy and germ-ridden. Place your flowers in the vase one at a time, removing any leaves that fall below the water line because they will decompose and release bacteria into the water. Rinse the vase thoroughly and change the water at least every two days. You may also need to trim the stems again if they become soft or slimy at the tips. If your arrangement contains daffodils, put them in a separate vase. Daffodils release toxins into the water that will kill the rest of the flowers.
  2. Don t put your vase of flowers outside. Cut flowers last longer when kept out of direct sunlight. Sunlight encourages plants to grow and mature, and that is exactly what you don t want with cut flowers. Once the flowers are removed from the plant, taking steps to slow their growth will make them last longer. All of the outdoor elements that push your garden into bloom in the spring are the same factors that will kill your cut flowers more quickly. Rain is also an enemy to cut flowers because it will cause the petals to fall off. Keep the blossoms dry.
  3. Keep the temperature regulated. Cut flowers cannot take extremely warm temperatures and will simply wilt and drop petals if left outside on a very warm day. For best results, move your flowers to a cool place at night. You may have noticed that florists keep their flowers in refrigerators for storage. This is because cool temperatures prolong the life of cut flowers by several days. But the temperature must also be warm enough to prevent frost or ice, which bruise and permanently damage flower petals. With proper care, cut flower arrangements should last at least seven days.
  4. Remove dead flowers promptly to keep them from contaminating the rest of your arrangement. Every type of flower reacts slightly differently to being cut. Some cut flowers retain their beauty for weeks, while others only last a few precious days. Lilies typically bloom and then deteriorate and drop their petals within a few days of being cut. To prolong the life of your cut lilies, you can remove the stamens from the center of the blooms. The stamens are the long tubes with pollen sacs at the tips. Lily stamens can also stain furniture and the face of anyone who leans in for a smell.
  5. If you receive a potted plant or a dish garden as a gift, do a little research to find out what kind of care it requires. Some plants need to dry out thoroughly between waterings, while others should be kept moist at all times. Some plants need a lot of sun and some prefer the shade. Most plants come with basic instructions, or you can use online resources to help you determine proper care for your plant.

The most important thing is to realize that all plants and flowers have different needs, so one set of instructions doesn t cover everything. Taking a few minutes to research your flowers and plants can extend their lives significantly. Someone cared for you enough to send you flowers in the first place, now it s up to you to take care of your flowers so you can enjoy them as long as possible.

Please see our review of the best sites for online flower delivery.

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