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Long-Lasting Flowers

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Long-Lasting Flowers

Cristina Soriano

Although I don’t need an excuse to have flowers at home, the warm weather and consequently a surplus of colorful spring blooms entices even the novice florists. Here are a few of my favorite tips to increase your bloom’s longevity.

Cutting Tools

Always use knives, clippers of shears when cutting flowers, NOT household scissors. The gauge on scissors isn’t set for bulky stems and will therefore crush the flowers vascular system, preventing them from properly drinking the water.

Cutting Technique

Cut at an angle – this provides a larger exposed area for water uptake.

Remove all lower foliage so that no leaves and additional branches are submerged in the water. This causes a buildup of bacteria and therefore quick flower decay.

Water Temperature

Use lukewarm water for most flowers, except those that originally grew from bulbs. Bulbous flowers need cold water.

Warm water is absorbed easier by the flowers than cold.

Bulbous flowers include: tulips, hyacinths, dahlias, amaryllis, daffodils, and calla lilies.

Flower Preservatives

Use a preservative to help increase the flower’s longevity. In order to survive, cut flowers need carbohydrates, biocides and acidifiers, all for preventing decay of cells and for combating bacteria, especially in the water. Always ask your florist for those little sachet packets and ad them into your lukewarm vase.

Stems 101

Depending on the type of flower and density of stem, you may need to additionally prune the flower before adding it to the arrangement.

Woody Stems

Flowers with woody stems need to be cut more than just the initial diagonal trim. Strip away some of the woody exterior and slice down the middle.

Flowers with woody stems include: lilac, viburnum, hydrangea, dogwood

Milky Stems

Flowers that secrete a milky sap need additional care before putting into the vase. Dip the cut stem into boiling water or heat it up with the light of a match for about thirty seconds. The heat sears the sap, preventing it from seeping into the water and infecting the other flowers.

Flowers with milky sap include: poinsettia, kalachuchi, euphorbia

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