A freshly picked bouquet of flowers from the garden or from the flower shop is sure to brighten any room or mood. Some have a green thumb to keep those flowers looking their best for days. Some, however, don’t. You guessed it - that includes me. I’ve always wondered what the tricks are to keep fresh flowers looking their best, so I talked with two florists in town. Lori Anderson, Floral Manager of HyVee and Audrea Hecht, Manager of Pied Piper Flowers & Gifts, taught me some tricks of the trade.

When getting a bouquet of fresh flowers, whether from a flower shop or your own garden, both florists suggest changing the water daily and adding some fresh flower food, such as floralife. If the water turns cloudy, empty the vase completely and start again with fresh water, trim the flowers’ ends about ½ inch and keep greens away above the water line. Low light is a good place to display your bouquet, keep it away from heat and drafts and display in cooler air temperature, around 65-70 degrees. Anderson mentions that you can also store the flowers in the fridge at night to extend their life, keeping them toward the front so not to freeze.

Hecht states that flowers should last about 6-10 days, though some last longer than others. “Keeping garden flowers can sometimes be challenging, but very clean containers and clean water is a good start. Add floralife to the water and keep as cool as you can. I have found that if I pick my flowers in the cool of the morning, I can get a bit more life out of my garden flowers.”

Anderson adds, “If you take care of your flowers on a daily basis, they will all last a little longer.”

Flowers that last longer are carnations, mums, daisies, alstroemeria, protea, carnations, hypericum and roses. Those with shorter vase life are tulips, iris, daffodils, gerbera daisies and zinnias.

Flowers are temperamental, some more than others. Anderson explains, “Some finicky flowers include lilies (very delicate), orchids (very picky on sunlight, water, and temperature), tropical flowers (most do not like lots of water and this can be tricky for some people), and other delicate flowers.

Anderson finds that alstroemeria, gerbera daisies and stargazer lilies are most popular. Hecht adds that roses and carnations are also popular as they come in a variety of colors. Popular flowers also depend on the seasons, and tulips, iris and peony are current seasonal favorites. These flowers have vibrant colors that give off a cheerful feeling.

They each have favorites on their flower list. “Tulips are my favorite,” states Anderson. “I wish they would last a little longer.”

Hecht has an extended list, some flowers I’ve never heard of before. “My favorite flower list is LONG!! I like to break it down by season, spring it’s iris, (including the bearded iris in my garden) peony and tulips. Summer it’s sunflowers, carnations, zinnias from my garden and roses. Fall, mums are king, protea and delphinium. Winter is alstroemeria, hydrangea and hypericum.”

Both enjoy their job and helping customers and are available to assist with any needs, including special orders, deliveries, holidays, weddings, and funerals.

Hecht comments, “Embrace every season and the beautiful flowers found in them.”