Wednesday, June 1, 2011


There is nothing like a fresh flower arrangement to make your surroundings more beautiful.  But, having CUT FLOWERS LAST is another thing.  There are a few helpful tips, however, to get the maximum life span for any cut flower that will make your efforts more successful:
  1. Cut flowers early in the day
  2. Add a floral preservative to a clean vase, using tepid water.  (If you don't have any, make your own.  Recipe below for homemade floral preservative)
  3. Remove any foliage that will be under water (deteriorating leaves increases bacteria--making a shorter life for your flowers)
  4. With a sharp knife or scissors, cut 1-2" off the bottom of the stem UNDER WATER IF POSSIBLE, then immediately plunge into the tepid water.
  5. Check water and make sure all the stems are in it, then add water when needed.  (Change water every 3-5 days--or more if water becomes cloudy)
  6. STORE in a dark, cool room.  (Cover with plastic wrap for increased humidity), or refrigerate at 40-50 degrees in an area that DOES NOT have fruit in (they emit ethylene gas which will make your flowers wilt or die) 
  7. DISPLAY flowers away from direct sun, drafts, heat vent
  8. Some flowers are especially prone to drooping and wilting.  Lilacs, for instance, have a very short vase life--3-4 days at very best.  To try to increase their longevity, follow the above directions, with these added directions: cut at a 45 degree angle, when flowers are 1/2 open, just above a leaf node. NOTE:  We used to say to smash the stems of woody blooms, such as lilacs, snowballs, hydrangeas, and dahlias.  However, new research indicates that this destroys the cells that take the water up to the bloom, and so it's not recommended anymore.  Instead, try splitting the stem with a sharp knife or scissors. This keeps the vascular tissue intact, and gives more area for water absorption.  In order for BUDS TO OPEN, they need a germicide and sugar, a warm temperature, and light (with moderate humidity).  
A recipe for your own floral preservative is:
     1 teaspoon sugar
     1 teaspoon bleach
     2 teaspoons lemon juice
     Add to 1 quart lukewarm water.

In order to PRESERVE CUT FLOWERS, the floral preservative provides the bactericide-acidic-sugar solution they need. 
Here are some additional hints for other flowers to increase their vase-life:
GERBER DAISIES - Split a straw to encase the stem to prevent drooping stems
LILIES -  Remove their anther (be careful not to get pollen on clothes--it stains)
HYDRANGEA - After cutting, wet the stem, then dip in alum and plunge in water.  They will NEVER droop!

Susanne Holland Spicker Mother, Grandmother, Homemaker, Gardener, Teacher, Photographer

Passion is defined as the love of, or the object(s) of affection and emotion. I am passionate about family, friends, flowers, food, photography and fabulous music! This blog is dedicated to those loves.

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