Firstly it is immensely important that you prune your cut stems down to a bud to prevent a dead stem (that will cause die back) and encourage the next flower, you do this by cutting down to the auxiliary bud.
The further down the stem you cut the longer it will be until the next bud matures into your next flower so don’t cut down to the ground.
Second is transpiration, the moment you cut a flower it begins to lose water.
The moisture continues to travel up through the stem and out through the leaves. To compensate for the loss of the water supply caused by cutting the stem, place each cut flower stem immediately into a bucket of tepid – not ice cold water.
Your hands will thank you later!
Cut first thing in the morning when the plant cells are full of water – the steam will feel more solid and won’t flop so quickly.
Plunge the stems as you cut them straight into a bucket of water and keep the bucket out of direct sunlight. This will make a huge difference to the vase life.
Allow the flowers to have a rest for a couple of hours before you start stripping the lower leaves. No foliage should be allowed in the water – it will rot and turn the vase murky.
Many cut flowers also benefit from searing especially if they begin to look a bit floppy.
Searing involves placing the bottom 1-2 inches (2.5-5cm) of the cut steams in boiling water, this increases the surface area available for the flower to use to absorb water and results in a more turgid and upright stem.
Be careful not to cook the stems!
20-30 seconds is enough for the most delicate stems and a bit longer for tougher plants such as Euphorbias.
This method also works well on shop bought arrangements.
Searing is essential for our foliage fillers Euphorbia Oblongata and Cerinthe Major – without it Cerinthe Major will droop and Euphorbia Oblongata will drop everywhere.
There are a few other things you can do to further extend the life of your arrangement.
Firstly make sure you use a sparkling clean vase, any bacteria will transfer to your flowers.
Prepping the water will also help. Florists and shop bought arrangements usually provide you with a sachet of flower food. You can buy this online or easily make your own:
You need acid to improve water flow in flower stems, sugar to help buds open and last longer, and something to reduce growth of bacteria and fungi. To make one litre of the solution use:
- one litre of water
- one tablespoon of vinegar
- one teaspoon of sugar
- one teaspoon or three to five drops of household bleach
Keep flowers away from central heating and out of direct sunlight. The higher the temperature, the faster flowers will deteriorate. Place arrangements in a cool place overnight if you possibly can.
Click here for Part 1 Growing your own Cut Flowers
The Flower Farm is in full swing and overflowing with cut flowers.
Come along to the open day this Sunday afternoon (14th August 2016 12-4pm), we have ‘garden ready’ plants for sale to give you vases of cut flowers this year.
Flower Farm Buckinghamshire