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Making Flowers Last

How to Keep Your Favorite Cut Flowers Fresh

Many cut flowers can last up to a week or longer if properly conditioned. 


  • All flowers need to be cut at a 45-degree angle in order to expose as much surface area as possible for taking in water. 

  • Leaves should be removed from stems that will be under water as foliage breeds bacteria and algae that kill a flower more quickly. But many flowers have different requirement to keep them fresh. Below you will find ways to keep your favorite flowers their freshest, longer.

Stem Treatments:

Hollow Stem Flowers (i.e.) amaryllis, delphinium, and lupine:
Hollow stemmed flowers stay their freshest when always full of water.Pour water directly into the stem and then plug it with cotton. 


Woody Stem Flowers (i.e.) lilac, dogwood, azalea, camellia, forsythia, quince, tulip magnolia:
Woody stemmed branches from flowering trees and shrubs need the ends of their stems split vertically with floral clippers. Gently split very thick stems with a hammer.


Bulbs (i.e.) tulips, hyacinth, daffodils, crocus:
To keep delicate bulbs lasting longer, cut off the thickened white part at the bottom of their stems. By eliminating this thickened area, it allows the flower to more easily draw water up its stem and drink. 

Condition cala lilies and daffodils separately. The clear gooey sap, which drips from the ends of their stems when first cut, can actually kill other flowers. After these flowers have set in water separately for several hours, it's okay to then mix them with other flowers. 


Milky Stems (i.e.) Iceland poppy, euphorbia, hollyhock, poinsettia:
Some flowers exude a milky substance from the ends of their stems. To condition correctly, dip their stems in boiling water for approximately 15 seconds. Searing the ends of the stems with a candle or match also works well with milky stemmed varieties. Sealing or searing the ends of the stems keeps these flowers from losing nutrients (the milky substance) that allow them to live longer. 


Other Treatments to Keep Flowers Fresh:

Tropical flowers (i.e.) ginger, anthurium, and heliconia:
Give tropical flowers a floral bath. Immerse the blooms and stems in a tub of cool water. Let them bathe for 15 to 30 minutes. Because tropical flowers love humidity, mist them daily with water. 


Stems with nodes (i.e.) carnations:
Cut carnations between the nodes that grow on their stems. This allows the flower to drink water more easily.


Flowers with Pollen (i.e.) lilies:
Cut off the lily anthers with a small scissors as soon as they appear or pull off their pollen anthers with tissue. If the pollen gets on clothing or fabric resist rubbing. Instead, use sticky scotch tape to lift the pollen off the fabric.


Thorny Stems (i.e.) roses:
Remove the thorns from roses with a thorn stripper purchased at the florist or craft store. Or, remove thorns by rubbing the stem with a small pairing knife. Work from the top downward.

My best,

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