Lilies have been long known to be great gifts and beautiful decorations with its modest but eye-catching colours and look. As flowers that bloom commonly during the late spring or summer, receiving lilies from a flower delivery, or giving them as flower bouquets are no doubt crowd favourites during celebratory events and commemorations, often being tied to the meaning of purity and devotion. However as much as such hand bouquets carrying these fresh cut flowers are pleasing to hold on to, lilies are very fragile and delicate types, and ones that are easy to grow but hard to keep.
With that in mind, the longevity and extended freshness of these elegant-looking centerpieces is still a feasible one. As flowers that require as much care as they are nice to look at, here are 4 tips to ensure a lasting freshly-cut lily in your home:
Tip #1: Remove the pollen
While a flower’s pollen often acts as a prominent part of its growth and anatomy, lilies see it as a huge problem instead. Rather than a fertilizing necessity as it is to most flowers, the pollen in lilies will eat away at petals upon touching it, reducing the lifespan of the bloom. Other than calla lilies, these flowers contain pollens that are easily detachable. Carefully, pluck out the anthers that contain these pollens, from the stamens of your lilies, while ensuring that they do not touch the petals.
Tip #2: Preparing its stems
Proper preparation is as important as all forms of care and time given afterwards – as it is also applied to lilies. Upon buying or receiving your lilies, cut 1-2 inches from the bottom of each stem at a 45-degree angle in a bucket of lukewarm water, before putting the flowers into a water-filled vase. This speeds up its receiving of this required hydration, a step that is necessary in extending the lilies’ lifespan.
It is also important to remove the leaves that will be under the level of water in the vase, so as to prevent it from rotting and generating bacteria growth that hinders the lilies’ hydration. However, it is advisable to keep the leaves above the water surface untouched, in order to provide nutrients for opening buds.
Tip #3: Add water regularly
Similar to most fresh cut flowers, lilies depend largely on water to thrive. Especially in hot climates like that of Singapore, sufficient and immediate hydration is as necessary a step to ensure the extension of the lifespan of these flowers. Whenever you notice a drop in the level of water in your vase, it is none other than a sign for you to top it up.
Some notes when preparing and treating the water in your vase:
Add a pack of flower preservative
Often also coined with the name “flower food”, flower preservatives act as a protection to lilies in the absence of the use of soil, adding nutrients while minimizing bacteria growth. You can also try mixing 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of sugar and ½ teaspoon of chlorine bleach to make your own flower preservative.
Cutting the stems again at the similar 45-degree angle 1 inch from the bottom, and leaving it with 3 teaspoons of added sugar in the water, is also an important method to perk your lily up, especially during observations of wilting or drooping.
Change your water every 2-3 days
Leaving your water stagnant is one of the biggest factors in the wilting of your lily. Replacing your water every 2-3 days not only prolongs the life of these flowers, but also prevents the possibilities of bacteria or pesticide growth.
Tip #4: Keep the lilies away from sunlight
Freshly cut lilies differ from the planted ones not just in its absence of soil, but also in its likeability for sunlight. Where planted lilies often grow especially well under the sun, the ones in your vase tend to shy away from this natural light and inch to growing better with a cooler environment instead. After leaving your lilies in your vase of water, place them in a shaded area, or a part of your house that avoids direct sunlight and stays moderately cool, to prolong its life and keep the bloom fresh.
With the steps and methods mentioned above, your bought or received cut lilies are very likely on its path to sustainable freshness and long-lived beauty. However, as efficient as such tips have proven to be, similar to all cut flowers, there will undoubtedly be a time where the wilting is inevitable, and a point where forcing for their revival is not recommended. That said, performing the proper care and preparations as advised will definitely maximise your lilies’ well-lived days and elegant looks in all your vases. Keeping them will just be as possible as growing them after all.
Written by: Lee Yu Han