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How To Cut Flowers

Some flower gardeners have designated cutting gardens, but most of us just snip judiciously from all areas of our yard.

Colorful, cut flowers.

Photo: dugspr — Home for Good's

To prolong the life of cut flowers, it's best to cut them when the blooms are in bud, but showing color.

Some flower gardeners have been designated cutting gardens, but most of us just snip judiciously from all areas of our yard. By cutting just a few stems here and there, we ensure that no one part of the garden is depleted too much at any time.

It is best to pick flowers either early in the morning or late in the day, to use clean clippers, and to plunge the stems into water quickly. Carry a container of water around the garden as you snip. Cut the stems either above a leaf node, above the next bud, or right at the ground.

Soft stems are best cut straight across, while woody stems are best cut at an angle. Hammer the ends of woody stems to help them absorb more water.

A Long And Happy Life

To prolong the life of cut flowers, cut them when the blooms are in bud, but showing color. This rule applies to most flowers with the exception of dahlias, marigolds, and zinnias.

Allow garden flowers  to sit in a bucket of deep water for a few hours before arranging them so that they are well hydrated. Also,  cut each stalk under water to prevent air bubbles from forming in the stem. To keep water in a vase fresh, add a preservative. Or, you could add a few drops of bleach, Listerine, or an aspirin to the water. Stir well!

Strip the foliage on the part of the stems that will be underwater before arranging them. Arrangements should not be in the sun or in drafts. To help the flowers live for as long as possible, change the water daily.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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