10 ways to help make cut flowers last

These simple steps will keep your cut flowers looking fresh for longer. 

1. If you are going to use hydrangeas, water the plant well the day before, and choose flowers where 90% of the buds are open.

2. Take a clean bucket of fresh, warm water. Cut stems as long as possible and get them into the water as soon as they are cut. Once cut, leave the flowers in a cool place for a couple of hours so they can take up the water.

3. Remove any foliage that will be under the water line, but the more foliage you keep, the longer the flower will last.

4. Ideally, cut flowers using a sharp knife or shears. Do it late in the day, when it’s cooler and they have maximum nutrition stored in the stem. Early morning is the next best time. If you want to use a flower food, now is the time to have it mixed in the water.

5. If you want a glass vase to be decorative, find one that can sit inside another, leaving a 1-1.5cm gap. Fill the gap with slices of lemon or another type of citrus, or foliage, and water.

6. Make sure the vase is clean (use hot water and soap) and rinse thoroughly to make sure there is no soap residue. Change the water and clean the vase every 2-3 days. The cleaner the vase and water, the longer your flowers will last. Every time you change the water, recut the bottom of the stems.

7. Vases can be any type of container. One of florist Anita Nichols’ favourites is a small Robert Harris coffee jar.

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8. Display flowers in a cool, shaded place, away from drafts.

9. Cold water can often revive wilted-looking flowers – remember to recut the stem if you change the water.

10. Recut the stems, preferably while still under water so you reduce the chance of air bubbles clogging the end. To get the stem length right, measure each flower against the vase, then cut. Trim stems at a 45 degree angle which allows more water to be soaked up. Preferably use a sharp knife as this doesn’t crush the stem – crushed stems don’t take up as much water.

NZ Lifestyle Block This article first appeared in NZ Lifestyle Block Magazine.
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