HOW TO LOOK AFTER CUT FLOWERS AND HOUSE PLANTS

When you buy or receive cut flowers as a gift it’s important to put them in water as soon as possible. Submerge stems in a bucket or washing-up bowl full of water until you have time to prepare them properly for display.

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Before arranging flowers, strip off any leaves that would otherwise sit below the water level – this helps keep the water fresher and slime-free. Cut the bottom off each stem on the diagonal with a sharp knife or some secateurs, to give maximum opportunity for water to be absorbed up the stem. Add flower food if it’s included with your bouquet to give your flowers a longer life. Position your arrangement in a cool place to make it last longer.

Drop a penny into a vase of tulips to keep them upright, or poke a small hole with a pin through each stem about 1.5 centimetres below the flower head.

Check the flowers at least every other day, if not daily. Some flowers are thirstier and may need a daily water top-up. Remove any wilted petals, flowers or leaves. Change the water and add more flower food.

Water and feed house plants according to the instructions that come with them and be sure to position them to fit their preference for light and shade. Avoid placing them in draughty spots in the winter months and protect furniture from water stains and leakage by standing plants on saucers, trays or impervious planter bases. Transfer them to bigger pots when they outgrow small containers.

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