A Flower Guide: Information and Tips on Flowers

Throughout history and across a range of culture, the act of using flowers for decoration or as a gift has always been practiced. People have used it to adorn themselves, brighten up a room, or bring a smile to a loved one’s face. As an alternative to buying fresh flowers, you can also choose to grow them in the garden. Some flowers also grow well indoors. Read on to learn all about growing flowers, taking care of them, and even some preservation techniques.

Advantages of Buying Fresh Flowers

Most people will readily admit that seeing a vase of fresh flowers in a room helps to brighten their mood. A number of scientific studies have now confirmed this and they’ve also found a few other interesting benefits. In elderly people, having a few bunches of fresh flowers in the room has been proven to improve memory and also reduce depression. Fresh flowers are not only useful for the extra burst of color that they add; many varieties also add a fresh scent to the room.

Giving Fresh Flowers – Giving fresh flowers is generally regarded as an extremely thoughtful gesture.

Indoor Flowers – According to studies, people feel more cheery when they have fresh flowers in the home.

Annual Flowers

Annual flowers grow on plants that typically last less than a year. In most cases, the flowers bloom during the spring or summer. Most annuals tend to be very vibrant and beautiful. They make excellent additions to gardens, as well as for gifts or cut flower arrangements. Depending on the plant, the annual flowers may require various different growth conditions. Always be sure to research the plant before growing it, in order to keep it healthy and flourishing.

  • Growing Annual Flowers (PDF) – This guide explains how to grow annual flowers both indoors and outdoors.

  • Annual Flowers – Learn about annual flowers and what growth conditions they require.

  • Germinating Annuals – Follow this seed germination guide when planning and planting annual flowers.

Perennial Flowers

Perennial flowers grow on plants that revive themselves each year after the last winter frosts fade away. Even though the flowers may fall off, the roots remain intact in the ground and regenerate the plant with new flowers in the spring. Perennial flowers are ideal for people who do not wish to keep purchasing and replanting each year. In general, perennials are usually higher priced than annuals and can take a longer time to flower if grown from seeds.

  • Perennial Guide – Read about growing or even purchasing and caring for perennial flowers.

  • Common Perennials – Browse through a visual database of some of the most common perennial flowers.

How to Care for Cut Flowers

The first thing to help keep cut flowers fresh and alive is to place them in a container of water. Adding a little sugar or floral preservative will help to provide a source of nutrition for the flowers, while also limiting microorganisms in the water. Keeping the flowers in a cool area and re-cutting the stems after a couple of days will help to ensure that they live longer. Always remove excess leaves that might otherwise enter the water. Finally, keep the flowers away from extreme temperatures, drafts, and electrical sources such as televisions.

  • Fresh Flower Tip Sheet (PDF) – This quick guide from MSU's agriscience department contains all you need to know about caring for cut flowers.

  • Cut Flower Care – This guide discusses how to keep cut flowers looking fresh for a longer period.

  • Keeping Cut Flowers (PDF) – This article outlines the main procedures for keeping cut flowers alive for much longer in a vase.

What to Do with Flowers After They’ve Wilted

Most people simply throw out flowers after they have wilted. However, there are several other options to keep them if they represent a special memory. One way is to dry the flowers. This is often done by hanging them in a bunch upside down until the petals harden. Another method is to place the flowers inside a book with blank sheets. Add a heavy object on top of the book and leave it for several days. When you check back after a few days, the flowers should be flattened and dried. They can then be left in the book, or used in a picture frame or other such decoration.

  • Preserving Flowers – Learn how to press or dry flowers to keep them after they’ve wilted.

  • Drying Flowers (PDF) – Find out which preservation techniques work best with certain types of flowers.

  • Flower Preservation Methods – Read all about drying and pressing flowers for a unique type of decoration.

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