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Do you wish your house always smelled and looked as good as it does on Mother’s day or your birthday? Henri Matisse once said “There are always flowers for those who want to see them,” but unfortunately, for most modern families, flowers are an expensive expenditure reserved for birthdays and celebrations.
British singer Elton John made the front pages back in early 2000s after reportedly spending $450K on flowers in less than 2 years, but contrary to popular opinion you don’t need to be a multi-millionaire to keep your home well-stocked with flowers throughout the year.
So how can ‘everyday joes and janes’ keep their houses colorful and fresh with flowers throughout the year, without signing a record deal or winning the lottery? We have compiled some tips for budget conscious homemakers, to make their homes blossom to life without breaking the bank regardless of the season.
1. Peruse and plan for the perfect purchases
For many of us, the only time that we will really spend much time researching flowers and their blooming seasons will be when planning for a wedding or special event. However, if we change our mentality about flowers, and try to make them a ‘year round’ feature in our homes, rather than a luxury, then we can begin to be more tactical in our flower buying behaviour.
Try to find a local flower market, or build a relationship with on online wholesale florist who would be willing to offer ‘bulk’ discounts for regular customers. Make yourself a calendar of your favorite flowers blooming seasons, and work out which of your preferred petals are cheapest to buy at different times of the year.
There are lots of resources online which can show you which flowers are in season when, which will add a nice touch of variety to your home throughout the year, and also keep costs low. You should also be aware that prices for popular flowers such as roses spike around special days like valentine's day, so try to choose more affordable, less known - but equally as beautiful - flowers like Alstroemeria or Gerbera Daisies during these times.
A little bit of research will introduce you to loads of amazing new smells and colors you have never heard of, for a fraction of the prices of well-known buys like lilies or orchids.
2. Make your flowers last longer with ‘grandmas’ flower remedy tips
As poet Sanober Khan wrote “The magic fades too fast, the scent of summer never lasts…” Unless they are plastic, the sad reality is that cut flowers will not live for ever. The lifespan depends on the type of flower, and the environment in which it is displayed, but common house flowers like roses usually last anything between 6 and 20 days.
Certain types of flowers, such as Anthuriums and Phalaenopsis (Orchids) have longer life spans, and along with regular watering and keeping them out of direct sunlight there are also some home remedies to extend the life of your home garnishes.
Pouring a small cup (¼ full) of clear sodas like 7-Up or Sprite into a vase full of cut flowers will make the blossoms last longer. You can also add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and 2 tablespoons of sugar for the same effect. When using regular water, or either of ‘grandma's’ tips, you should still change the water at least every couple of days, to maximize the lifespan and reduce trips to the florist.
Sterilizing the water to kill excess bacteria is also a way to keep your flowers looking and smelling fresh. There are various ways to do this. Add a few drops of vodka or any other clear alcohol along with a tablespoon of sugar. Chuck a copper penny or crush an aspirin into the vase water, or even a ¼ teaspoon of bleach per liter of water.
Just like when you are in a rush to make it out the door, hairspray can also save the day. From a safe distance of about a foot away give your flowers a quick spray on the undersides of the leaves and petals and watch them shine.
3. A cut above the rest
Most of us make the mistake of throwing pre-cut flowers straight into a vase without any thought. However, to extend their lifespan experts suggest re-cutting the stems at an angle with a pair of scissors while the bottom of the stem is below water. This opens the flower’s vasculature, offering more oxygen and nutrients and could extend their lives by days if not longer.
Moms learn lots of neat tricks to get the most out of stuff at home, and make every penny count. Flowers, like clothes and leftover food, can be given an extra breath of life, if we put in a little time and energy. So instead of buying scented candles and aerosols, go natural and make flowers a regular part of your home routine. Then wait for the compliments to roll in from everyone who passes through your door or past your window.