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Flower Care Tips

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1. Always cut stems at a sharp angle. This increases the surface area of the stem and allows water to be better absorbed through the stem.

2. Stems Cut at an angle will not rest flush against the bottom of the container; thus they allow the water to penetrate the stem.

3. After the end of the stem is cut, place it directly into the water. It only takes a minute for the stem to begin to dry and seal up.

4. Thick stems and thin branches should be cut at an angle, and then cut up the center for better water absorption through the fibrous stems

5. Hammer all thick, woody stems and branches about five to six inches up from the bottom, and make several splits in the stem. This allows for better water absorption.

6. Remove the extra bark around the shattered part of the stem to prevent contaminating the water. This will prolong the vase life of the flowers

7. Pull or trim all leaves and thorns that will be below the water level in the container. Allowing such materials to decompose in water will allow harmful bacteria to shorten the life of the flowers.

8. Scrape all of the small debris on the stem, such as small thorns, branching stems, etc., with a sharp, curved knife to thoroughly clean the stem before it is placed in the water.

9. Clean stems should be placed in the deepest water to promote vase life. Water can be absorbed from the outside part of the stem as well as the base. A nick or crack in the stem left exposed above the water level can create an air pocket and block water flow to the flower. The deeper the water, the less likely this is to occur.

10. In conditioning flowers, the water temperature should be comfortably warm. Submerge your hand to test the water. Cold water is not as readily absorbed by the flower. Hot water will penetrate the stem, but will almost shock the flower.

11. Once flowers are placed in water, they begin to decompose or break down by releasing gases and forming bacteria. The cleaner the stems and the less debris in the water, the less decomposition occurs, and the longer the flowers will last.

12. All the same kind of flower in a vase or container will last longer than a mix of different types. Certain flowers have a different makeup and decompose by different means. This mixed reaction can shorten the life of all the flowers. The same kind of flower will break down by the same reaction. Actually, a single flower in a vase will last longer than several of the same kind.

13. Cloudy or discolored water is an indication of decomposition and bacterial growth. Change the water in the container at least every couple of days, using new, warm water. This will open the stems to allow water to flow to the flower.

14. Fresh, clean water is best for the vase life of flowers. Some commercial floral foods can lengthen the vase life as well, but be very careful in measuring the amount. Using too much can actually be harmful. Homemade versions or substitutions, such as lemon lime soda, are not a good idea, because sugar promotes bacterial growth in the water

15. Stems will develop a film and become discolored from stagnating in the water; this blocks water flow to the flower. Re-cut the stems each time the water is changed to allow water to penetrate the stem.
16. Mixed arrangements are sometimes hard to disassemble to change the water and to re cut the stems. Flushing the container completely.

17. Use a piece of heavy twine to tie your arrangement at the top of the container. Once the flowers are tied snugly, pull them form the vase. Clean the vase, and change the water. Hold the tied b bouquet upside down. Re cut all the stems at an angle. Place back into the container and cut the twine. Your bouquet should fall back into place.

18. Many flowers will open in the light. This does not mean they are not fresh. It is the nature of that type of flower, which will close again in the dark. Temperature will also cause the same effect. Warmer temperatures will cause the flower to open, and cooler temperatures will cause it to close.

19. Flowers last best in temperatures around 45 degrees. Misting flowers with cold water a few times a day will cool them and create this environment temporarily. Flowers can also absorb this extra moisture through their petals.

20. Keep flowers out of direct light. Flowers will last longer in a place of low to indirect light. Light creates heat and speeds up the life cycle of the flower. However, flowers with a green tinge owing to early cutting, or tightly budded flowers and branches, will need a strong light source to develop. Once the flowers show full color, put them in place with less light so they will last.

21. Most flowers are accustomed to the outdoors, so air circulation is important for their vase life. Keep them in a place with good airflow. Cigarette smoking is harmful to flowers.

22. Many believe that placing flowers in the refrigerator at night helps them last longer. However, many foods may cause a negative reaction in the flowers from the gases they release in the breakdown process. Placing your flowers next to a window or in a cool room at night is a good idea.
23. Purchased cut flowers will usually be wrapped in paper or cellophane to protect them. It is a good idea to leave them wrapped and hydrating in deep water for about an hour when they are brought home before conditioning or arranging them. This will ensure the flowers will be upright.
24. Pinching or trimming off spent blossoms and leaves encourages other blossoms to open and makes the flower last longer. The spent blossoms take some of the energy the flower has to stay alive. Trimming these away allows the flower to channel the energy to the healthy parts.
25. Some flowers, such as carnations and dahlias, have separations or nodes along their stems. The stem is thicker and more fibrous at these parts. Cut the stem between the nodes to allow water to penetrate the stem.
26. Branching or spray flowers will last longer if the stems are separated at their base. This allows for water to be directly absorbed by each blossom.

27. Some flowers secrete sap or latex when cut. Singeing the ends will keep this fluid contained in the stem. The fluid is what the flower needs to last. Some believe that placing the end in boiling water will seal the stem. This works, but the hot steam is not good for the flower itself; burning the end works the best. Try using a gas flame on a stove e, or a candle with extra-thick wick. Singe about one half to one inch of the base of the stem.

28. Poisonous flowers are best used alone in their own container. These flowers secrete latex that is harmful to other flowers. Condition by standing them in deep water with a drop of bleach for 24 hours before mixing with other flowers.

29. Tall or heavy flowers, such as lilies and hybrid delphiniums, may bend or break before they are completely hydrated. Tie the tip of the flower and the middle part of the stem to a branch or stick loosely with twine to support the flower for proper hydration.

30a. Flowers with hollow stems, such as amaryllis, are designed to draw water up trough the outer layers of the stem. Some believe that filling the stem with water and plugging the end will help the flower last longer. This may help, but it is unnecessary because of the way the flower is designed.

30b. Hollow stems with crack and break more easily than solid stems. Support them by slowly inserting a stick into the end of the flower. A clean branch of bamboo works well. Covering the stick with a soft, water-absorbent material will protect the inside of the stem and provide extra moisture as well.

31a. Bent or cracked stems and flowers that bend owing to their heavy heads can be salvaged with floral wire. Insert the wire partway into the strong area above the bend or break, or under the flower head.

31b. Support the stem with the wire and straighten it to the upright position.

31c. Gently wrap the wire around the rest of the stem.

31d. Wrap the stem or the point of incision with floral tape to keep air from blocking water to the stem.