Gardening Blog

Conditioning Cut Flowers in 10 Simple Steps

If you have a garden, you have access to lots of materials to use in fresh flower arrangements! Instead of deadheading and tossing into the compost, try to save flowers for arrangements by harvesting when they are fresh and the flowers have just opened. The more you cut, the more blossoms you will have!

Here are some tips on harvesting flowers and greenery from your garden and conditioning cut flowers so they last as long as possible. By employing these little tricks, you’ll have fresh, long-lasting bouquets all year round!

Bouquet of Fresh Cut Flowers

Follow these 10 simple steps for conditioning cut flowers for beautiful, long-lasting bouquets!

1. Always harvest your flowers early in the morning or late at night when they are most hydrated, this will ensure they will stay fresh as long as possible. Don’t ever harvest in the blaring sun or on a super hot day. When you clip them off the plant, clip at the node to encourage new growth.

2. Put your flowers directly into a bucket of cool water, and then bring them inside into a cool, dark area.

3. Re-cut all the stems at an angle. This provides the largest surface possible so they can drink as much water as possible. Use sharp clippers like Felco pruners or Japanese bonsai scissors. Don’t use regular scissors or it will pinch the stems and damage them. Some stems are hollow (delphiniums, dahlias), so you can place a wet cotton ball inside the stem to help it absorb the water. If you are working with woody stems, make a crisscross slice up the center of the stem to make it easier to drink water. For roses, take a thick rag and pull it down on the stem to remove thorns and leaves.

4. Let your flowers sit for a few hours or overnight in a dark cool place away from sun and heat.

sweet peas on potting bench

5. As you process your flowers, remove branches and leaves that will be below the water line. The water should be clean and clear so that no bacteria can build up.

7. Use clean clippers, vases and buckets to keep bacteria at bay. Clean with soapy water or just a tiny bit of bleach and dry thoroughly.

7. You can put a tiny drop of bleach in the water to keep it clean. You can also use flower food, but it’s not necessary.

8. Once your flowers are hydrated, you can begin arranging!

9. Once you’ve made your arrangement, be sure to keep it away from drafts and heaters and replace the water each day. The easiest way to do this is to place the arrangement under a faucet, placing the faucet just close to the rim of the vase. Let the water run through so that all the water inside is fresh. This is the easiest way to freshen up your arrangements without disturbing them.

10. As the arrangement ages, you can remove dead blossoms, which will help the arrangement last longer as well. Also, be sure to keep away from other old flowers and fruit as they emit an ethylene gas that speeds the death process for flowers.

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