Fresh flowers have been shown to add both character and personality to many settings. They often add color and cheer to any room, and can take on a variety of artful arrangements. Unfortunately, they only last so long and must be replaced once they have wilted. Still, there are steps you can take to preserve them for as long as possible, in order to enjoy them for a longer period of time. These steps are outlined below.
The first step you can take to preserve fresh flowers is to place them in water as soon as possible. Once the stems have been cut, the life support system has been removed. While water will not reinstate that support system, it will help restore it for a limited amount of time.
Fill a plastic bucket about 1/3 to 1/2 full with warm water. Warm water should be used instead of cold because flowers use it more readily. Because flowers only drink through the ends of the stems, as opposed to the sides, the bucket should not be filled up to the top. If this happens, any foliage left on the stems below the water level will rot and pollute the water, which will also cause your flowers to die more quickly. It is also advisable to add a preservative to the water. Preservatives will be discussed further in this article.
Take the bucket into the garden with you. Use a sharp pair of secateurs to cut the flower stems at an angle. A slanted cut allows for a better intake of water. Remove all foliage from the lower portion of the stems that would stand under the water level. Then, immediately place the flowers into the water.
Avoid overcrowding flowers. You should always allow enough air to circulate between each flower, as too many flowers crowded together in a bucket can cause the petals to become squashed or bruised. Place the bucket in a cool, dark place and allow the flowers to have a long drink before arranging them. When you pick short-stemmed flowers, be sure to use a smaller container so the foliage will remain above the water level.
Allow your flowers to have a good drink, preferably overnight before arranging them. This step is called conditioning, and allows the stems to fill up with water, and the flowers to become crisp. When you do this, your flowers will last twice as long as those that have not been properly conditioned.
Use a flower preservative to destroy any bacteria that may be present in the water. Flower preservatives are available in garden centers or supermarkets. Another alternative is to use a capful of household bleach in the water. If you choose not to use a preservative, it will be necessary to change the water and cut the stems at an angle on a daily basis. If a preservative is used, the stems do not require re-cutting, and the water should be changed only about twice a week.
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