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Hollow Stems: Preparing Them For Arrangement

Flowers from bulbs are easy to arrange informally in a vase.

Daffodils and some other spring bulbs have flowers with hollow stems. Cut these flowers in bud when the color is showing and then re-cut the stems under water indoors, cutting straight across the stem. (Solid stems, however, are cut on a slant to create a larger area for water to be taken in.)

Large hollow stems, like those of agapanthus or amaryllis, can be held upside down and filled with water, and then the end can be plugged with part of a cotton ball. The porous cotton allows more water from a vase to keep entering the plugged stem.

In the case of flowering bulbs such as tulips and daffodils, always cut off any white part of the stems, as it cannot absorb water.

For stems that exude sap, such as poppies and dahlias, use a match or candle flame to burn the end of each stem.

Flowers from bulbs are easy to arrange informally in a vase, but for a different look try the following technique:

1.     Cut the stems of a bunch of daffodils all the same length and tie the stems tightly together with raffia or ribbon. (It may be more secure to tie the stems in 2 different locations on the bunch of stems.)

2.      Fill a decorative soup bowl with water and place a heavy pin holder in the center.

3.     Jam the lower end of the bunch of stems into the pin holder so that the topiary type arrangement stands erect.

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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