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Cutting Flower Stems for Longevity: A Blooming Guide

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Properly cutting flower stems is essential for maximizing their vase life. Whether you’ve received a bouquet or picked fresh blooms from your garden, follow these tips to ensure your flowers stay vibrant and beautiful:

1. Understand Flower Stems

Before we dive into cutting techniques, let’s explore different types of flower stems:

  1. Hearty Stems:

    • Examples: Marigolds, celosia, statice, and clarkia.
    • These stems are solid and sturdy.
    • Place them in lukewarm water with preservative before arranging.
  2. Hollow Stems:

    • Examples: Dahlias, hollyhocks, amaryllis, lupin, Bells-of-Ireland, and delphinium.
    • These stems are hollow and often have wide blooms.
    • Fill the stem with tepid water by turning the flower upside down and plugging it with cotton.
  3. Bulbous Stems:

    • Examples: Hyacinth, tulip, iris, and daffodil.
    • These stems are pulled from the ground (not cut).
    • Cut right above the white bulb for better water absorption.
  4. Soft Stems:

    • Examples: Anemone, hellebore, and freesia.
    • Condition them separately by placing the ends in tepid water with cut flower food.

2. Cutting Techniques

  • Angle Matters: Always cut at a 45-degree angle. This increases the surface area, allowing the flower to absorb more water.
  • Individual Cuts: Cut each stem separately to prevent crushing or damaging neighboring stems.
  • Sharp Tools: Use sharp kitchen shears or a sterile knife for clean cuts.

3. Specific Tips for Some Flowers

  • Daffodils and Hyacinths:

    • Cut horizontally (not at an angle) due to their softer stems.
    • Use cold water for these flowers, as they bloom in low temperatures.
  • Daffodils:

    • Condition them separately; they exude poisonous sap that can harm other flowers.

4. General Tips

  • Remove Leaves: Strip leaves from the lower half to two-thirds of each stem.
  • Water Temperature: Use tepid water with cut flower food.
  • Conditioning: Allow flowers to rest in water for an hour before arranging.
  • Separate Bulbs: Store daffodils separately to avoid sap contamination.

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