Grow Your Own

Caring for Cut Flowers

cut flowers

Now is the busy buzzy time when pollinators abound and flowers compete for their attention, using bright colors and glorious scents to bring butterflies, bees, and even bats to them in order to make new flowers for next spring.

We love the ranunculus, anemones, sweet peas, roses, hyacinth, tulips, jasmine, calla lilies, and abundant other cutting flowers that this season produces, but we also look to flowering limbs and pretty green branches when choosing flora for the home.

Here are a bevy of great tips for caring for cut flowers that we hope you’ll find useful. Have some great tips of your own? Leave them in the comments section! We adore finding new ways to care indoors for our favorite outdoor blooms.

Cut Flower Tips

  • Cut flowers as early in the morning as you can.
  • Generally, it’s wise to re-cut flowers that were harvested more than 30 minutes before arranging or are brought home from the store. Use sharp pruners. The bottom of the stem will have sealed a little bit and water won’t otherwise penetrate.
  • Clean and sanitize all buckets and vases before each use. Bacteria is one of the culprits that makes your cut flowers fade. A good rule of thumb is that these vessels should be clean enough to drink from.
  • After cutting, remove low leaves and place stems immediately into cool, clean water. This will minimize wilting, since there is less foliage to rehydrate. The easiest way to do this is to carry a bucket with you at harvest time.
  • Flowering trees and shrubs make more wonderful additions to arrangements, but getting their woody stems to take up water can be tricky. Immediately after harvesting, remove the lower half of their leaves and use heavy clippers to split woody stem ends vertically a few inches up.
  • For special cases such as basil, cerinthe, Iceland poppies, mint, and scented geranium, dip stem ends into boiling water, or hold them over an open flame for 7 to 10 seconds before placing in a cool vase of water.
  • Condition stems and branches in water for 24 hours before you do an arrangement to properly hydrate the stems and extend the flower’s freshness. Keep them in a place as cool as you can find.
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