h1

Tips for cutting and prepping flowers

February 7, 2010

It’s looking like I will be picking my own flowers, hopefully from a local farm.  Here are some helpful tips for preparing flowers if you are planning on doing your own arranging.

There’s nothing like fresh flowers around the house whether they come straight from your garden or from a florist. But when you take the time to put together an arrangement, you’d like it to last forever or at least for more than a few days! Here are some step-by-step tips for extending the vase life of cut flowers.

Tools and Materials

  • Stem-cutting shears or sharp pruners
  • Pail
  • Vase
  • Water
  • 7-Up
  • Bleach

Cut flowers. Cut flowers in your garden in the morning before the dew has dried, or in the early evening. With stem-cutting shears or sharp pruners, snip above a node or dormant bud to spur new blooms. Put stems in a pail of lukewarm water as you cut them.

Recut stems. Recut stems on a slant indoors under water to eliminate air bubbles that block uptake of food and water. Certain types of flowers (including celosia, sunflower, and zinnia) benefit from scalding the stem ends in boiling water for 20 seconds or over a candle flame to stop nutrient-rich sap from oozing. To prevent decay, remove bruised leaves and foliage below the water line.

Condition flowers. Condition flowers several hours before arranging. Rest stems in lukewarm water in a cool, dark place so they can absorb water.

Arrange flowers. Arrange conditioned flowers in a vase of warm (110� F) water. To slow aging, place the vase in a well-ventilated cool place (as low as 38� F). Don’t store flowers near unsealed fruits and vegetables, which produce ethylene, a gas that hastens ripening, or in the case of flowers, aging.

Add water. Freshly cut flowers have enough stored sugars to survive in a vase. But if you would like to add a preservative, try a homemade version. Tests have found commercial floral preservatives to be less effective than the following formula; the sugar in the 7-Up provides energy for the flowers, and the bleach controls bacteria. If you need more liquid, just increase the amounts proportionately.

  • 1 cup regular 7-Up
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon household bleach

Change water. Change water every couple of days. In mixed bouquets, some of the flowers may give off sap that is toxic to other varieties in the vase shortening their vase life, a process that is avoided by frequently refreshing the water.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: