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Video:How to Care for Fresh Flowers

with Anne-Marie Barton

Flowers can really brighten up a room until they start to fade away. Find out how to make those lovely blooms last a little longer.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Care for Fresh Flowers

Benefit of Fresh Flowers

Nothing brings a room to life like fresh flowers. Extending the beauty and scent of cut blooms requires some basic preparation and care, but you'll reap the benefits in the many days you get to enjoy them.

Four Factors that Effect the Life of Fresh Flowers

When properly conditioned, cut flowers can last a week or longer. Although different types of flowers require different methods of care, there are generally 4 factors to consider when it comes to caring for your flowers:
  • Cutting
  • Stem Tending
  • Maintenance
  • Watering

Cut Fresh Flowers

First, the stems of all flowers should be cut at a 45-degree angle. This facilitates water absorption and removes any excess foliage that could drain the water supply.

Tend the Stems of Fresh Flowers

After that, things get interesting. Hollow stems like these Delphinium, Queen Anne's Lace and Ammarylis need to stay full of water. How do you do that? First, pour water directly into the stem. Then, you can either plug the stem with cotton or place your finger over it like this. Place it in the vase and remove your finger once the stem is underwater.

Camellias, Wax Flower, Hypericum and Pepperberry are examples of woody-stemmed blooms and greenery. Woody-stemmed flowers, often the flowering branches of shrubs and trees, are usually split vertically, about an inch or two up from the bottom. If the stem is very thick, florists sometimes smash the end with a hammer until it frays, which also facilitates water absorption.

Bulbs, such as Daffodil, Crocus, Grape Hyacinth or Tulips will have trouble drawing water unless you cut off the white, thickened part at the bottom of the stem. Poppy, Euphorbia and Hollyhock varieties, sometimes emit a milky substance from their cut stems. These flowers require this milky substance to survive over time. Dipping the cut stem in boiling water for 30 seconds or searing it with a match will seal the stem and keep the bloom from losing nutrients.

Maintain Fresh Flowers

Aside from cutting, there are various steps you can take to prolong the healthy appearance of your blooms. Tangerines, lemons, limes and cranberries not only add color and variety to your arrangements, they are ideal for propping up stems. Branches you can find in your yard add texture and height. Old metal buckets and glass vases have charm and come in many sizes and heights.

Some varieties of flowers, like Gerber daisies, need wire backing to stand tall, so plan accordingly. And, generally, using a lot of the same variety in a grouping can be more compelling than a large mishmash of blooms. Finally, the contemporary style is to make bouquets that are loose and free.

Water Fresh Flowers

After you've cut and arranged your flowers, check their water levels daily, refreshing water at least every two days, your flowers will thank you.

There really is something magical about flowers... Even if everything else in your life is out of sync, inhaling the fresh bouquet of cut blooms delivers an instant dose of well-being.

I'm Anne-Marie Barton, About Home & Garden.
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