For me, the smell of lilacs is a fool-proof sign that summer has finally arrived. But beyond being fragrant heralds of warmer weather, they are also the perfect flower to use in simple flower arrangements. These punchy purple buds are best shown off in either clear jars for a clean and simple look, or in antiqued vases to give the whole arrangement a rustic feel. But caring for these purple perfections can be a little more work than caring for your average bloom. After being cut, a lilac’s lifespan is only around 5 days. To keep them as fresh as possible and get the most out of your lilac lovelies, here are some tips and tricks that you might want to follow:
1.) It’s best to choose the lilac stems for your arrangement in the early morning since they will be fully hydrated. If you cut them later in the day, they’ll have lost all their water and might not recover from the cut. This will definitely decrease the amount of time you’ll get to enjoy them at home.
2.) Use a sharp knife or pruning shears when cutting your lilacs. Also, cut the stem diagonally to increase the amount of surface area exposed to water for the flower’s intake.
3.) Have a bucket of warm water and flower preservative ready to immediately put your lilacs in once they’ve been cut. You don’t want the stems to seal up, because if they do, your lilacs won’t be able to drink.
4.) Take off all the foliage and make sure no buds or leaves are submerged in the vase. If you don’t, get ready for a pretty awful odor! Submerged foliage and flowers prevent healthy bacteria from growing in the water, which beyond causing a terrible smell, will decrease the lifespan of your lilacs. If you want green foliage in your arrangement, separate the leaves from the stems first and then add them to your lilacs.
5.) If you’d like to move them to a different vase after they’ve already been cut, cut the stems again under water and then move them to the new vase already filled with warm water and floral preservative. This prevents air bubbles from developing in the stems that prevent the flowers from taking up water.
6.) When you’re done with your arrangement, keep it out of direct sunlight and away from ripening fruit. Et voilà! It’s time to sit back, relax, and enjoy these summer-time wonders in your home!
Pictures by Julia C. Vona