Love flowers but not sure where to start when it comes to buying them for the home? We have some top tips for you from Selina Kerley, florist at leading luxury florists McQueens. From choosing your blooms wisely and budget friendly tips, to industry hacks for longer lasting flowers – get ready for Selina to impart some serious flower knowledge…

 

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1. What’s your top tip for making your flowers last longer?
There are SO many things you can do to make your flowers last longer! Firstly, if they’re wrapped (especially in cellophane) remove the packaging to let your flowers breathe, it can get very humid under there…
Gently pull or snip off any excess foliage from the lower two-thirds of your stems and cut the ends at a 45° angle. This will clear the way for water to travel up the stem and hydrate the head of the flower. You also want to avoid any leaves below the water line, as this encourages flower-wilting bacteria to form. Use some standard flower food for nourishment, which should contain a little antibacterial to help to keep your water clean, too. 
If a stem does go over be sure to whip it out pronto. Wilting flowers release an invisible, odourless ‘Ethylene’ gas which is totally harmless to us but can cause any remaining, healthy flowers to wilt. Fruits and vegetables are the same, and bananas are the worst offenders! So, keep your blooms away from the fruit bowl! 
Flowers don’t love heat so try and place them somewhere relatively cool, or move them to a cool spot overnight. Last but not least, change the water every two days at least. It sounds like a faff, but it really is worth it — your flowers will literally last twice as long!
2. Are there any industry hacks you can share?
Try and look for flowers that aren’t totally open yet, as they won’t have as much staying power as those that are yet to bloom. It’s also just such a joy to watch a flower unfold and develop over time.
If you’re not sure what flowers together you can never go wrong with a single variety, such as a bright bunch of tulips, ranunculus or anemones (all in season at the moment) in a vase or jug. It’s simple and effective and can’t fail to pack a punch. The same goes for roses or lilies (available all year round), too.
3. What are the best flowers for the home that don’t require much attention?
Carnations are super hardy, hence they’re often used in restaurants and cafes for their staying power. It’s partially due to this that they’re not exactly the most sought-after flowers but they’re in the midst of a comeback and there are some really spectacular fluffy, giant-headed and scented varieties out there. I’d definitely recommend a trip down to the New Covent Garden Flower Market to take a look (and pick up a bunch). They may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I can’t get enough of them.
4. What are the best flowers for people on a budget?
Buying seasonal will always get you the most for your money as the more elusive a flower is, the higher the price will be. Alternatively, just buy a few stems of something you absolutely love — sometimes the beauty of a single flower can get a little bit lost in a giant bunch, there’s nothing wrong with keeping it simple.
If you’re buying from a market stall or supermarket, avoid reduced, second-rate flowers because they’re a bargain, the chances are they won’t last much longer. Look for longevity instead. ‘Woody’ stemmed materials such as Waxflower, Craspedia, Eucalyptus are especially hardy and will look great for ages (which will save you money in the long run), and once again, carnations or gerberas are a super affordable, long-lasting option, too.
If you want to learn more about the lovely Selina and what she does, head to her instagram here: @selinaleakerley_flowers