- Cut flowers before morning dew has dried or in early evening. 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 on a slant, under water to eliminate air bubbles that block food and water uptake.
- Remove bruised leaves and foliage below the water line to prevent decay.
- To stop nutrient-rich sap from oozing, scald stem ends in boiling water for 20 seconds or over a candle flame.
- Condition flowers several hours before arranging. Put stems in lukewarm water, in a dark, cool place.
- Arrange conditioned flowers in a vase of warm (110F) water.
- Put the vase in a well-ventilated cool place (as low as 38F) to slow aging. Don't store flowers near unsealed fruits and vegetables, which produce ethylene, a gas that hastens ripening.
- Change water every couple of days. In mixed bouquets, flowers may give off sap toxic to other varieties in the vase.
Freshly cut flowers often have enough stored sugars to survive in a vase. For extended enjoyment, use a commercial floral preservative or the following formula -
* 1 cup regular 7-Up (the sugar provides energy)
* 1 cup water
* 1/2 teaspoon household bleach (controls bacteria)
Plants to consider include -