11 pointers for exquisite and longer-lasting bouquets

When you gather and arrange cut flowers with care, you can enjoy your vibrant bouquet for a longer time.

11 pointers for exquisite and longer-lasting bouquets

1. Rejuvenate cut flowers

Most blossoms respond well to a rejuvenating conditioning period just after they are cut.

  • Place them in a deep container of water and put it in a dark spot in the house for a few hours.

2. Remove foliage below the water line

After the stems have been conditioned, prepare the flowers for your arrangement.

  • Remove any thorns and leaves that would be below the water line, where they would become slimy and rotten.

3. Cut the stem ends properly

  • Cut the bottoms of the stems diagonally so they have a larger surface to absorb water (this is best done under water so the vessels of the stems won't be obstructed by air bubbles).
  • Asters, roses and snapdragons in particular benefit from this treatment.

4. Keep cut flowers upright

  • To keep cut flowers from sagging in their vase, crisscross several pieces of transparent tape across the mouth of the vase before putting the flowers in.

The flowers will look perky and fresh for a few extra days.

5. Cauterize stem ends

Daffodils, hollyhocks and hydrangeas stop drawing water into their stems because a milky, slimy substance inside seals the cut ends of the stems. The substance can have an adverse effect on other flowers in the same vase.

  • To remedy the problem, briefly singe the stem ends with a flame after trimming the stems.

6. Give cut flowers extra height

Your flower arrangement would be perfect, except a few of the flowers aren't tall enough.

  • You can improve on nature by sticking the too-short stems into plastic straws before putting them into the vase.

7. Hold flowers in place

Pros use a "frog" to keep cut flowers in place.

  • To make your own, put an inverted berry basket into a vase (cut the basket to fit if necessary). It will keep your stalks standing tall.
  • You can also fashion a homemade "frog" by bending a piece of chicken wire into a ball and placing it in the bottom of the vase.

8. Extend the life of your arrangement

Just as it preserves your hairstyle, a spritz of hairspray can preserve your cut flowers.

  • Stand a foot away from the bouquet and give it a quick spray, just on the undersides of the leaves and petals.

9. Hitting the road?

Put your cut flowers in six-packs and arrange them when you arrive at your destination.

  • Save a cardboard six-pack holder of bottles.
  • Place your cut flowers in the water-filled bottles, slip them into their holder and you're ready to hit the road.

10. Bouquets to go

Don't bother with awkward, water-filled containers when travelling with a small bouquet.

  • Simply fill a balloon with about 125 millilitres of water and slip it over the cut ends of your flowers.
  • Wrap a rubber band several times around the mouth of the balloon to keep it from slipping off.

11. Making your cut flowers last

Sparkling-clean receptacles ensure longer life for cut flowers.

  • Wash vases thoroughly after each use and add a few drops of bleach to the rinse water.
  • For narrow-necked containers that are difficult to clean inside, add 250 millilitres of dried beans or peas to the wash water and swish them around to remove any vegetation that may be adhering to the surface.
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