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Fresh Cut Flower Handling, Preparation and Care

Here are some tips for proper cut flower care:
  • Make sure your vase is clean before adding water/preservative, or the flowers.
  • Trim the bottom ends of your flowers with a clean, sharp, blade before putting them in the vase. It's important to achieve a "clean" cut, and not damage the stems.
  • Cut the flower stems underwater (to prevent air from entering the stems) at a slight angle to increase their surface area to absorb water. This also prevents them from resting flat on the bottom of the container, which will inhibit water absorption.
  • Trim any unnecessary leaves and discard wilted blooms because they will accelerate dehydration of the flowers.
  • Cut away any foliage below the water line, since wet leaves encourage microbial growth that can lead to premature flower decay.
  • Don't overcrowd the flowers in the vase. There should be enough space and water available to them all.
  • Feed them and protect fresh cut flowers from decay and infection by using a floral preservative:
    1. Floral Preservative Recipe #1
    2. Floral Preservative Recipe #2
    3. Floral Preservative Recipe #3
    4. Floral Preservative Recipe #4
    5. Floral Preservative Recipe #5
  • Mix the floral preservative using warm water (100-110°F) because it will be absorbed better than cold water.
  • Give cut flowers fresh water/floral preservative regularly.
  • If flowers go limp/start to wilt, it means that they are taking in water inefficiently, and need to be re-cut.
  • Keep your flowers cool and out of direct sunlight.
  • Keep flowers away from hot or cold air drafts and hot spots (including the TV), since it increases evaporation, that can dehydrate them.
  • Discard any decaying leaves or flowers, because the gases and bacteria can impact the freshness of the flowers.
  • Do not set your flowers near ripe fruit, because the gases and chemicals from the fruit will age them prematurely.
  • When away, put the flowers into the fridge or move them to the coldest (above 35°F) spot in the house.
  • Flowers with "milky stems", such as euphorbia, lobelia, heliotrope, hollyhock, poppy, poinsettia, and snow-on-the-mountain require special treatment. When cut, they secrete latex sap that oozes into the water and keeps the plant from absorbing water. To prevent this, dip the bottom tips of the stems in boiling water for about 30 seconds or sear them with a flame from a match, lighter or candle for the same length of time.
  • After each use, clean vases and storage containers with a soapy Clorox solution, to kill all bacteria.

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