Caring for your cut flowers

Did you get some flowers for Valentine’s Day? Here is a recipe for water to keep your flowers fresh and some tips to keep them looking beautiful for as long as possible.

Water to Keep Flowers Fresh16 oz. of lemon-lime soda, 16 oz. of water and 1/4 tsp. of bleach.  Mix and pour into vase

1.    Check the water level in the container as soon as you get the flowers in the house. This includes any flowers that were delivered.

2.    Cut garden flowers early in the morning. Flowers that are cut on a hot day won’t last as long because the heat of the sun draws moisture away from the petals

3.    The ideal temperature for flowers is between 40ºF and 50ºF. Store your flowers in your fridge overnight will make them last longer. If they won’t fit in your fridge, place them on the floor in the coolest room in your house at night.

4.    Remove all leaves from the part of the stem that is submerged under water.

5.    You can clean the stems by lightly brushing them with a vegetable brush. This not only helps the flowers, but it will keep the water cleaner.

6.    Cut flowers will last longer if the stems are prepared correctly. Preparing the stems helps them take up water quickly. To prepare stems:
•    Cut about one-half inch off the end of the stem at about a forty-five degree angle. Don’t use dull scissors to cut the stems because they can crush the stem which prevents the flower from getting water.
•    For best results, cut the stems underwater. Cutting them under water prevents air from getting into the veins in the stem of your flower – which also prevents the flower from getting water.
•    If the stems are woody – like lilacs, forsythia, etc., Split all stems about one-half inch from the bottom with a knife or crush the bottom of the stem with a mallet.
•    Place the stems in deep water and leave them there for a few hours before moving them into shallower water.

7.    An airlock could develop in tulips and hellebores and prevent water in the stem from getting to the flower. To prevent this, pierce through the stem at intervals with a needle.

8.    Change the water and mist the flowers with water everyday. If it is difficult to remove the flowers from the vase, use a turkey baster to remove the water.

9.    Use water that is a mixture of bleach and water. The bleach will keep the water cleaner and kill any stench from the water.

10.    To keep water looking nicer in glass vases, try adding a few drops of food coloring to the water.

11.    A teaspoon of sugar added to the water will help renew flowers.

12.    Keep the flowers out of direct sun and away from heat and drafts. Even a fan can cause flowers to wilt quicker.

13.    Use a straw to fix or stabilize any broken or drooping stems.

14.    To prevent tulips from flopping over, wrap them tightly in wet newspaper and then place them in about two to three inches of water. Leave them there for about two hours. Push small pins through the stems just below the flower heads and they will stay soldier straight.

15.    Remove any dying flowers immediately. Dying flowers emit ethylene gas that will cause the other, healthy flowers to wilt.