What to Look for When Selecting Cut Flowers:
- Flower stems should be green and smooth, not slimy
- Water should smell fresh
- No broken stems or drooping buds
- Before You Put Them into the Vase
- Keep cut flowers cool, until you can get them into water
- Make a fresh cut an inch or two up the stem, while stems are under water. Cut with a sharp, non-serrated knife and always make a cut on a slant, as it exposes more stem surface area
- Make sure the vase and cutting tools are clean
- Remove any leaves that will be below the water surface
- Use the packet of flower food that comes with your flowers. If you don't like to use chemicals to prolong the life of your cut flowers, there are more "natural" alternatives such as adding a penny or an aspirin tablet.
Caring for Your Cut Flowers:
- Keep flowers out of direct sunlight, and move them to a cool place at night.
- Change the water every 2 days — don't just top it off. This is the single most effective thing you can do to keep your flowers looking fresh.
- Make a fresh cut each time you change the water.
- Use plain, lukewarm water for most cut flowers, but use cold water for bulb flowers, such as daffodils, hyacinths, and tulips.
- Give daffodils their own vase — daffodil stems give off a compound that is toxic to other flowers.
- Keep cut flowers away from fruit, which releases a gas that causes flowers to age faster.
Good Choices for Long Lasting Cut Flowers
- Carnations (7-14 days) Carnations are extremely dependable. New varieties appear continuously and what colors growers can’t breed, they simply dye.
- Delphiniums (7-14 days) You can’t beat Delphiniums for shades of blue and purple. Like Alstroemeria, these are sensitive to ethylene gas.
- Lilies (7-14 days) Choose sprays with a few slightly opened lower buds. Remove the anthers to prevent pollen from coming in contact with clothing and staining.
- Roses (6-12 days) The classic. And with over 20,000 varieties, they never get boring.
- Sunflowers (6-12 days) Generally available in late summer. Sunflowers can be top heavy, so use a vase that can support them.