How to Condition Flowers for an Arrangement.
Sure, all flowers look great tossed into a vase without much fuss—but if you toss themin without conditioning them first, they won't look great for long.
You will need Fresh flowersSome warm water A clean bucket A sharp knife Some bleach And some sugar Hot water (optional)and gardening shears (optional).
Fill the clean bucket a third of the way with lukewarmwater.
If your flowers are a little droopy, or you want them to open up right away, usehot water—they'll absorb it more quickly.
Add a few drops of bleach and 1 teaspoonof sugar per quart of water, and set the bucket aside.
The sugar provides nutrients for theflowers, and the bleach rids the water of any bacteria.
Remove any leaves thatwill end up underwater in the vase.
Weak leaves can be plucked by hand.
Cut tougher leaveswith a sharp knife, being careful not to damage the stem in the process.
Submerged leaveswill rot, encouraging bacteria and shortening the life span of the arrangement.
Remove any thorns with a sharp knife or garden shears, being careful not to damage the stems.
Cut at least 1 inch from the base of the stem at a 45-degree angle with a sharppair of garden shears, making the cut as clean and smooth as possible.
Place eachflower in the prepared bucket as soon as you cut its stem—the longer it takes, the morelikely that air bubbles will seal off the passageways for water.
Continue conditioningeach flower one at a time until they are all in the bucket.
Set the bucket in acool place out of direct sunlight, and away from fruits, vegetables, exhaust fumes, andcigarette smoke—all of which contain or emit chemicals toxic to flowers.
Most flowers—excepttropical varieties—will last longest at temperatures between 40 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Let the flowers drink for several hours before arranging, especially if they'vecome straight from your garden.
Ideally, you should cut them in the evening, conditionthem overnight, and wake up to beautiful, strong flowers ready for the vase.
Did youknow An old wives' tale says that if a single man plucks a dewy bachelor's button, placesit in his pocket for 1 day, and the flower remains blue, he will have a happy marriage.