Cutting Flowers for Arrangements

Tips for making cut flowers from the garden last.

One of the great joys of growing flowers is being able to cut a big bouquet for the house or arrange little nosegays for friends. Here are a few tips for making the most of your cut flowers, so that you and your friends can enjoy these arrangements a little longer.

When selecting flowers for display or arrangements, cut them just as blooms fully develop. Cut your flowers in the early morning, if possible before the sun comes up and evaporates some of their moisture. And try to cut at a diagonal across the stem, rather than flat. This will allow the stem to take in the most amount of water. (After you get the blooms into the house, you might want to cut small slits or fray the cut end a little. This increases the water absorption ability of the stem.)


Place your freshly cut flowers in a bucket of cool water to soak for an hour or two before arranging your final product. Some people even take this bucket with them in the garden and plop the fresh-cut stems right into it.

To help your bouquet last longer, a commercial floral preservative will help. (Those little packets of freshener you get with store-bought bouquets are ideal.) This will feed your flowers, maintain a constant pH, and serves as an anti-microbial to prevent premature decay.

Once you have created your floral masterpiece, keep it out of drafty areas and direct sunlight to prevent the flowers from drying. Finally, you can just sit back and admire your new décor or enjoy your special moment.

When the flowers pass, don’t throw the leftover water away. Pour it onto houseplants or outdoor plants for a nutritious boost. They will love it.