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Conditioning Cut Flowers

Martha Stewart Living, June 1998


If you are buying flowers from a shop, the florist should have conditioned them for you. But whenever you pick flowers from your garden or buy a growers' bunch at a farm stand, follow these simple steps to keep them in good shape for a week or longer.

GATHER TOOLS
To cut and properly prepare any kind of stem, keep on hand: a sharp knife, scissors or garden shears, and pruners.

CUT STEMS
Cut all green and woody stems at a 45-degree angle. This prevents stems from sitting flat in the vase and creates a large surface area, ensuring maximum water absorption. Use clippers or shears for woody stems and sharp scissors or knives for other flowers. If possible, cut stems under water.

REMOVE FOLIAGE
For all flowers, remove any leaves that would otherwise sit under the waterline in the vase; leaves rot when submerged, encouraging algae and bacteria in the container and shortening the life of the blooms.

ENHANCE THE WATER
For cut flowers to survive, they need sugar for nourishment and an acidic ingredient, such as aspirin, to help them absorb water. Cut-flower food provides all the nutrition stems need, but you can also use this formula: For every quart of water, add two aspirins, a teaspoon of sugar, and a few drops of bleach (to reduce bacteria). Check water level frequently to make sure stem ends are covered; change the water and re-cut stems every five days.

Comments (2)

  • WINDJAMMER 22 Mar, 2008

    THANK YOU!!!! I knew I could count on "Martha Stewart" for my problem!! You see, forgot to get the FREE packet of Cut-flower food w/ my beautiful bunch of spring flowers yesterday --and didn't want to make another GASOLINE-consumed trip back to get it!! So, I looked it up on your site and whala!!! Thanks bunches!!! Now, I can mix up my own recipe in a jiffy and go ahead with my other preparation, i.e., baking, for tomorrow's Easter dinner and family! I love you guys!!!!

  • WINDJAMMER 22 Mar, 2008

    THANK YOU!!!! I knew I could count on "Martha Stewart" for my problem!! You see, forgot to get the FREE packet of Cut-flower food w/ my beautiful bunch of spring flowers yesterday --and didn't want to make another GASOLINE-consumed trip back to get it!! So, I looked it up on your site and whala!!! Thanks bunches!!! Now, I can mix up my own recipe in a jiffy and go ahead with my other preparation, i.e., baking, for tomorrow's Easter dinner and family! I love you guys!!!!