Fresh Tips For Cut Flowers

from Country Gardens
Use these suggestions to maximize the blooms on your flowers both in the garden and in your bouquets.

Grow a thriving cutting garden and enjoy long-lasting bouquets with these pointers from Suzanne Balet Haight. The New York native runs a successful business, Balet Flowers & Design, and she's learned a number of ways to keep flowers healthy and fresh. For example, when Suzanne cuts flowers for an arrangement, she typically leaves a stem of at least 12 inches so they'll easily fit into most vases.
  • Weed on a regular schedule in an organized fashion. “Fewer weeds equals fewer disease and insect problems,” Suzanne says. “It’s time-consuming but worthwhile.”
  • Use mulch to help contain weeds. Suzanne uses a combination of black plastic and organic mulch to keep uninvited guests from running wild.
  • Rotate plant positions. Changing annual flower locations from year-to-year reduces insect and weed problems.
  • Feed your flowers a 5–10–5 fertilizer at planting time to produce larger blooms. Supplement with a liquid fertilizer during the growing season if stems and foliage appear yellow.
  • Water flowers at the root base instead of showering them from above to ensure plants receive moisture and to prevent mildew problems.
  • Cut flowers early in the morning or late in the evening when the water content in the stem is greatest.
  • Snip stems at an angle to help flowers absorb more water.
  • Harvest everything that’s ready to reduce deadheading chores and
    speed regrowth.
  • Change the water for arrangements every other day.
  • Keep flowers fresh longer by mixing a drop of bleach, a drop of vinegar, and 1 teaspoon of sugar with a quart of water. The bleach kills any algae that might be on the stems, the vinegar acidifies the water, and the sugar feeds the flowers.

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