Keep your flower arrangements thriving longer

  • When ready to arrange flowers for display, clip off all foliage that will be under water in the finished arrangement.

    When ready to arrange flowers for display, clip off all foliage that will be under water in the finished arrangement. Daily Herald File Photo

  • When ready to arrange flowers for display, clip off all foliage that will be under water in the finished arrangement.

    When ready to arrange flowers for display, clip off all foliage that will be under water in the finished arrangement. Daily Herald File Photo

 
Posted8/4/2018 6:00 AM

Q. I like to cut flowers to bring indoors. Are there some special tips I should follow?

A. Yes. Bringing in a bouquet of freshly cut flowers is what every gardener hopes for when first planting their flower patch. The following tips should help you keep your cut flowers glowing in a fresh floral arrangement for several days.

 

First, always keep in mind that flowers remain alive after cutting and need proper conditioning. Most importantly, use tepid water; warmth stimulates and coolness slows.

Pick flowers in early morning or evening when it is coolest outside. Select only blooms that are at the perfect stage for cutting. Cut flower stems at an angle and plunge in water up to flower.

While picking, keep different kinds of blooms separated with newspaper. Store in cool spot out of sunlight until water reaches room temperature.

When ready to arrange flowers for display, always use clean containers. Design the arrangement to fit the specific setting; a tall vase requires height whereas shallow bowls are good for short blooms. Clip off all foliage that will be under water in the finished arrangement.

When combining blooms, consider texture, proportion, color, setting and lighting. Typically, the proportional "rule of thirds" and odd numbers of blooms are best, but then rules are meant to be broken, so be creative.

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Display finished arrangement in a well-chosen location. Keep the display away from drafts and direct sunlight. Do not display near fruit, which releases ethylene gas.

Consider use of an additive, commercial or from the pantry, for the water. Try adding cup of lemon lime soda (not diet) or a teaspoon of sugar for food plus teaspoon bleach or vodka to inhibit bacteria. And most importantly, completely change water every other day. With these simple steps you are likely to enjoy your blooms indoors for several days.

For more information, visit our website atweb.extension.illinois.edu/mg or call the Master Gardener answer desk at (847) 298-3502.

-- Stephanie Stauder Kenny

• Provided by Master Gardeners through the Master Gardener Answer Desk, Friendship Park Conservatory, Des Plaines, and University of Illinois Extension, North Cook Branch Office, Arlington Heights. Call (847) 298-3502 on Wednesdays or email northcookmg@gmail.com. Visit web.extension.illinois.edu/mg.

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