Help and Advice
Firstly, make sure you have protective eyewear and gloves. When working with flowers you may wind up with cuts on your hands, or may damage your manicure. The rest of the information is more mechanical than creative.
Go ahead, get started, we know you’ll do just fine. Always use a clean bucket to put your flowers into as you are preparing them. Avoid using metal containers. Use fresh cool water with floral food. Gather all the other materials you will need by preparing your flowers as described they will last longer and look more attractive. Remember to use clean containers for your arrangements; you will want to clean them with soapy water with a capful of bleach, then rinse well with warm water, being sure to remove all suds.
- Cut your stems at an angle, preferably under water. This gives the most exposure for water uptake. Scraping the bottom of green stems or hammering (yes, use a real hammer) and cutting the bottom about ¾ inch up from the end of the woody stems helps with water uptake as well.
- Strip all the lower leaves from the stems. This also includes leafy lower branches, if you don’t do this they will rot the water with a build up of bacteria.
- If the stem has thorns, remove them with scissors. This will make them much easier to handle when you are making your arrangements. This will also allow for more water intake.
- Let your flowers sit in the water in a cool dry place for several hours before making your arrangements.
- If the stems appear to be thick and hearty, you can plunge them briefly into hot water to encourage them further to take up water.
- You can singe milky stems to prevent them from oozing in the vase. Do this by using a low flame such as a candle flame.
- When using floral foam, you will need to soak the foam in water with flower food before using it. You will find it is much easier to cut when wet. When shaping it to your container, don’t forget to leave space for a reservoir of water with access for topping up. Be sure that your flower stems are placed firmly and as far below the solution level in the container as possible without coming out of the foam itself. Avoid removing the stem ends after inserting them into the foam. They will be plugged with the floral foam.
- It is a good idea to re-cut your stems just before you make your arrangements.
- Gasses emitted by leaves and dead flowers will prematurely age your flowers so pick off any faded flowers and dead or wilted leaves.
- Never use walk in coolers, freezers or home refrigerators as these are not suited to fresh flower storage and can damage your flowers.