Once a Flower is cut the time that it will last is limited but there are some very simple things that you can do to get the most out of your purchase or garden cuttings.
If you are retrieving flowers from your own garden you want to select flowers that are just about to or just have bloomed.
Stem length will be determined by the type of flower and the condition of the plant. It is best to harvest flowers with stems slightly longer then needed in your design. This will allow for trimming as you place the flower in your vase or container.
Trimming of the stem should be done under water with a sharp knife. Cut the stem end at an angle to provide the best surface area for the stem to absorb water. Cutting under water is important because when the stem end is cut small air bubbles will form in the stem end blocking its ability to drink in the water. Once cut place directly into fresh warm water.
Heat Treating stem ends is important for a small group of flowers. You may want to talk with a florist on which varieties require this treatment. If necessary it will mean dipping your flower stem ENDS only in boiling water for 20 seconds or using a flame to heat the end of the stem. Celosia, sunflower, and zinnia are three varieties that require this treatment.
Water additives to extend the life of your flowers are also available however you can simply use 1 teaspoon of bleach to a gallon of water.
Changing water on a daily basis is also best for longest life.
Storage of flowers is best at the lowest possible temperature. Once cut and arranged you can temporarily place your flowers in a refrigerated or cool space down to about 40F. Each flower will react differently so ask your florist how they should be stored.
You may want to store your flowers in an unheated garage or refrigerator at night or while at work and this should extend their life for a few extra days.
Remember once a flower is cut it will eventually wither but with a little care you can extend the time that you can enjoy them..