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Care and Conditioning: Dendrobiums

Start with a clean vase. Fill it about halfway with fresh, room-temperature water. Add the included cut-flower food to the vase. Hold each stem next to your vase to gauge how much you'll need to trim for your arrangement. Be sure to arrange the stems so no flowers are below the waterline; submerged flowers can rot and encourage bacteria that shorten bloom life. Fill a sink a bowl with water and, using a sharp knife or floral shears, cut stems underwater at 45-degree angle for the best water absorption. Arrange the flowers in the vase as desired. Keep flowers in a cool area away from drafts, direct sun, and excessive heat. Orchids are especially sensitive to ethylene, a gas that causes cut flowers to deteriorate rapidly. Keep the blooms away from fireplaces and ripening fruits and vegetables, possible sources of this gas. Recondition the flowers every two to three days, adding more cut-flower food: Recut the stems, change the water, and add the food, using the extra pack with your first water change. To freshen your blooms after the food is used up, refill your vase with a solution of one teaspoon sugar and two drops liquid bleach per gallon of fresh, room-temperature water.

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