How to get Ranunculus to Open Faster

Sometimes I have to purchase CA grown ranunculus from the wholesalers and almost every single time, the bunches of ranunculus are in tight bud form. No one wants a tight bud of ranunculus in their bouquets or arrangements... they want the signature fluffy and ruffled, full-bodied ranunculus bloom that everyone knows and loves. So how can we, as floral designers, help the ranunculus buds to open faster and show their ruffly petals?

First, you should know that ranunculus do not hold well in the cooler. So when you pick up your bunch of ranunculus, keep them stored out of the cooler in room temperature. Second, ranunculus are prone to rot and they have heavy heads on top of hollow stems so sometimes they will droop down. The best way to avoid rot is to keep the water shallow in your container and a good way to keep them upright is to wrap a paper sleeve semi- loosely around them, like you would a bouquet. You want it a little loose to allow space for their petals as they unfurl, but not too loose that you defeat the purpose of holding their stems up.

Now, the best and only fool proof way I've found to help ranunculus open faster is to re-cut their stems into warm water (not hot, just luke warm) with a little floral holding solution, and to do this often. As always, cut stems at an angle. It helps them take up water more efficiently. I re-cut my ranunculus stems in warm water 1- 2 times/day. 

It is a labor of love, people, and sooo worth it. 

Lastly, this is very important... Even with this treatment of re-cutting stems in warm water over and over while leaving them sit in room temperature, it takes days and days for them to begin to unfurl their petals. For this reason, I purchase my ranunculus at least 10 days before my event that I need them for. This gives them optimal time to open.

IF some of the buds open faster and show their ruffles well before I need to arrange with them, then I will put them back in the cooler; but first, making sure that kraft paper is wrapped loosely around their stems/heads to keep them upright in their bucket.

So there you have it. I actually find this process pretty enjoyable as I get to have ranunculus in my home for some time, watching them unfurl into their ruffly selves, before designing with them. 





Tahoe Styled Shoot

This romantic, bohemian styled elopement took place at the Granlibakken in Tahoe. It was a gorgeous January day for a team of talented individuals to come together and create some magic. Thanks to the detailed event styling of Wilder Events Co. and the beautiful imagery captured by the talented, Charissa Cooper, our models, Kalista and Colten's, love really radiated. Kalista modeled a gorgeous wedding gown from Epiphany and they wore rings from Pave Fine Jewelry. Later, they indulged in the most delectable macarons by Rose Quartz Cakery and snuggled up by the fire.

Of course, the florals were styled by yours truly and as always, flowers and foliage are 100% California grown. Silk Ribbon treatment by Ecotone Threads

I hope more couples choose winter in Tahoe as a destination for their wedding. These photos prove that it can be so dreamy! 

How to Maximize Vase Life

We're all familiar with it. You buy a fresh, beautiful bunch of flowers from market, put them in a vase at home, and a couple days later the water starts turning mucky and the flowers begin to wilt. What's happening? Why? What are those little flower food packets they sell with bouquets at grocery stores? Are they worth it? How can I get my flowers to last longer? This post is all about answering these questions!

Flowers wilt and the water turns mucky because of bacteria on the stems/leaves. Most flower growers and designers know to strip the leaves off the part of the stem that's in water, but sometimes a few slip by. These leaves, and particularly hairy stems like zinnias and sunflowers, hold a lot of bacteria that not only make the water yucky, but can clog the pores of the stem preventing the flower from taking up water, thus, wilting. 

Those flower food packets at grocery stores contain 3 main ingredients: a bactericide, an acid, and sugar. The bactericide helps keep the water clean, the acid allows flowers to take up water through their stems, and the sugar is a little food for the flowers. So, they are intended to keep the water clean and help your flowers last longer. They work and I'd say they are worth it. I personally use a solution like this every single time I harvest. I use Vita One Step floral solution from Vita Products. Their solution is organic, environmentally friendly, and biodegradable. The good news is there are home remedies you can make to help your flowers last longer. The recipe is: a drop of bleach and a splash of regular 7-UP soda. (You don't want to use Diet). Alternatively, you can use an actual squirt of lemon juice and a little sugar stirred in. The bleach doesn't harm the flowers, but I don't have actual amounts for you. All I can recommend is the tiniest drop of bleach and a small splash of the other stuff. It really doesn't take much! 

Giving your flowers this solution, whether homemade or bought, will certainly increase the vase life of your blooms! There are, however, other common practices you should be doing (and if the the floral solution thing sounds like too much of a hassle, at least changing out the water a few times per week will help your flowers last) For starters, it should be common practice that when you get your bouquet home, re-cut the stems before placing it in water. Flower stems begin to close up 7 seconds out of water!! This is their way of surviving. So, the stems are probably closed from your transit home with them and a fresh cut will open their pores again. Make sure your vase is squeaky clean before putting your flowers in. This cannot be stressed enough, because again, bacteria! It's also a good idea to make sure your snippers are clean when cutting the stems. Lastly, keep your bouquet in a cool location out of direct sunlight. Growing flowers like sun, but fresh cut flowers do not.

It is also worth mentioning that some varieties of flowers just naturally have a longer vase life than others. Some flowers are known for their shorter vase life. Such flowers with a shorter vase life (of 4-5 days) are cosmos, sweet peas, and zinnias sometimes. Some flowers that last super long in a vase (often 2 weeks!) are lisianthus, feverfew, strawflower, bells of Ireland. Most flowers fall in the range of lasting a good, solid week. When I make bouquets for my home, I personally like to pick out the flowers that die first and continue to enjoy the rest of the bouquet. 

I hope these tips will help your bouquets to last longer so you get to enjoy them more! 

With Love,

Flower Mama