Saturday, Apr 21, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio


Aah, Fresh Flowers

Nothing brightens up a room like a vase of fresh-cut flowers. Many people use fresh blooms throughout their homes to give rooms a punch of color and scent. Unfortunately, the life of fresh-cut flowers is short, and without the proper care, many will wilt within a few days. Still fresh-cut flowers can do wonders for your d cor and there are ways to keep them beautiful longer.

If you are planning to use fresh-cut flowers to spruce up some of your rooms this year, follow these steps to extend their life and keep them looking good:

Choose flowers that are not quite fully developed, free of bruises and firm to the touch. If taking them from a garden, cut stems with a sharp knife rather than a pair of scissors. Scissors will not produce as clean of a cut as a knife and could bruise the stems and damage their delicate vascular systems, hindering water and nutrient uptake. If you are going after woody-stemmed flowers, use heavy-duty clippers.

Place flowers in a sink of tepid water and a floral preservative for 30 minutes to hydrate the leaves, stems and blossoms. While some people prefer to use a commercial preservative, others like to make their own. Whichever you choose, make sure you apply the right amount. Too little may feed bacteria; too much may burn petals. If you are working with delicate flowers like pansies, skip to the next step .

Strip stems of everything but the upper leaves. Anything left below the waterline in a vase will rot quickly.

Cut one to two inches off the stems at an angle with a sharp knife to provide more surface area for the flowers to drink.

Get rid of any dead or tightly closed buds. These will leach nutrients from healthier flowers.

Fill a vase with water, add a floral preservative to it and arrange the flowers carefully into the vase. Do not drop them in. Again, this could bruise the stems and damage their delicate vascular systems, hindering water and nutrient uptake.

Place the vase in an area away from direct sunlight, heat and drafts. Move the vase to the refrigerator at night unless the flowers are tropical. In that case, leave the vase out and keep the flowers above 55 degrees.

Mist the flowers with plain water several times a day to help the petals retain moisture.

Check the water in the vase every day and add more when necessary.

Change and recondition the water every few days, making a fresh cut on the stems of any flowers that may be wilting. This will remove any blockage that may have occurred in the stems and help them absorb water.

These are the basic steps involved in cutting and caring for fresh flowers to maximize their longevity. Depending upon the type of flowers you have, there may be other ways to keep them fresh. Consult the Internet or a professional for more information.

Keeping flowers fresh requires some time and effort, but won't it be worth it as you wake up each day to a home filled with colorful blooms and amazing scents? Enjoy!

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