Helping your DIY Arrangement Last

2nd Oct 2013


I  enjoy making my own flower arrangements at home, but sometimes some of the flowers die really quickly, while others last really well. What am I doing wrong?


Congratulations!  I love keeping fresh flowers in my home too, and it does not have to be extravagant to be beautiful! 

It could be that you are choosing materials that do not “marry well”…that is, some just naturally do not live as long as others, for example,  if you mix daffodils with orchids, the daffs will die in two or three days, but the orchids will look great for 12 to 15 days. 

Truthfully, though, one of the most common reasons for this failure is the improper use of the floral arranging foam.When using arranging foam, it is important that you purchase one known for it’s quality, and that is why we use “Oasis” brand arranging foam at work. The dollar store brands just will not hold up as well, and, given the joy the flowers will bring you, it is  cheaper in the end  to purchase the better quality stuff. 

Next, soaking the foam seems so simple, but proper technique will make a huge difference in your results. 

Fill a deep sink with baby bath warm water, and mix in some floral preservative…the standard ratio is 1 tablespoon to one litre. If your flower provider does not give you free preservative, you are buying them at the wrong store! 

Now, gently place your brick of foam on the water, and allow the water to slowly soak into the foam. Never force the foam underwater, or you will be left with air pockets trapped inside the foam and never, ever re-use old used foam. I know it's tempting, but once the foam dries out, it will never re-absorb the water evenly. The polymers in the foam will deteriorate, and some will remain dry, resulting in dry spots deep inside the foam you can't see. 

Finally, although it might seem like there is enough water in the foam to keep the flowers alive, that is not the case!The floral foam will suspend water in it’s pores, allowing easy access to the flowers, but you must keep the container filled with water at all times. So every day, fill the container to the top with fresh water, allowing your flowers to freely drink water all day long. Even one day with no extra water in the container can cut the life span of your flowers to just a day or two. 

Keep your arrangements out of the hot sun, and away from any heat source (never on top of the TV or near a heat vent), and out of the cold. Even near a front door puts your arrangement at risk of our cold winter air freezing it in seconds!

So, to re-cap…use quality flowers that have a similar life cycle, use quality arranging foam, soak the foam correctly using floral preservative powder, keep your container filled with fresh water daily, and protect your flowers from extreme heat and cold.

 Hopefully, these simple steps will encourage you to keep fresh flowers in your home every day of the week, just like me!