Ten tips to make cut flowers last longer

1. Cut flowers in the early morning or evening.

2. Use a sharp, clean knife or clippers. Nettie Rynearson, owner of Uncanoonuc Mt. Perennials in Goffstown, suggests Felco F-2 pruning shears.

3. Cut newly opened or half-opened flowers. Mums are best cut fully open.

4. Cut on an angle just above a set of leaves.

5. Put blooms directly into a clean bucket partially filled with water.

6. Bring cut flowers inside and remove all foliage below the water line.

7. Add a floral preservative to a clean bucket and fill with lukewarm water to just below the foliage and/or blossoms. The preservatives provide nutrients and slow bacterial growth.

8. Let cut flowers “condition” or crisp overnight in a cool spot, such as the cellar or garage.

9. Use clean vases with fresh lukewarm water and preservative to create arrangements. Re-cut stems on an angle before putting in a vase or floral foam. Woody stems can be split up the bottom an inch or so to help with water uptake.

10. After your arrangement is made:

•Check the water levels daily.

•Avoid placing the arrangement in direct sunlight, high heat or a draft.

•Keep flowers away from ripening fruit; it gives off ethylene gas, which shortens flower life.

•Refrigerate small arrangements overnight.

•Remove flowers as they fade.

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