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Flowers 101: How to Spruce Up Your Grocery Store Flowers

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A few bucks at the grocery store and you can leave with some fairly decent flowers, but a local florist is sharing her secrets on how to turn them into showstoppers.

Holley Simmons owns “She Loves Me” in the Petworth neighborhood of DC.

She teaches a class on floral arranging and says the number one rule of thumb starts with a rhyme: spiller, filler and thriller.

Spillers are anything that literally spills out of the vase to add movement. Fillers are going to add texture. Simmons suggests picking flowers with little buds. Thrillers are the stars of the show. 

Flowers can start to smell and not in a good way. Simmons says leaves are to blame.

“What’s happening is those leaves are sitting below the water line and transferring bacteria throughout your arrangement. You want to strip anything that could be sitting in water to keep the stems super, super clean,” says Simmons.

Cutting flower stems at an angle helps improve the flow of water to the flower. Most store bought flowers come with plant food. Simmons says use a quarter packet each day when filling a vase with fresh water. If you don’t have one of those packets, you can use a splash of Sprite.


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The height of your floral arrangement should be based on the height of the vase…is short, double the size. 

The single-best way to keep extend the life of your store-bought flowers is by keeping them cool. 

“There’s a reason when you go shopping they keep them in the refrigerator. I even will sometimes clear some space in my fridge and I put my flowers in there at night,” says Simmons.

Simmons teaches floral arranging classes at the Yours Truly hotel in the West End. 

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