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Make Garden Flower Arrangements Last Longer - Tips From OSU Extension

By Peg Herring, OSU Extension Service
From spring to fall, one of the biggest joys of flower gardening is being able to bring fresh cut flowers indoors. Here are some hints to keep flower arrangements looking fresh longer, from Barb Fick, home horticulturist with the Oregon State University Extension Service.

First, pick flowers early in the morning. Take along a small bucket of warm water and some sharp shears.

Cut long stems and remove leaves from the lower part of the stem. If leaves are under water in the arrangement, they will rot. With roses, rub or clip off some of the thorns on the lower stem, too - they just make arranging difficult.

After removing the lower leaves, put each stem into the bucket of warm water. While the stems are submerged, cut about an inch off the bottom of each to prevent tiny bubbles from clogging the stem's water-conducting passageways.

Choose a clean vase. Leftover scum from previous bouquets interferes with water uptake. Fill your vase with clean water and add some citric acid or commercial flower preservative to the water. Citric acid increases the acidity (lowers the pH) of the water and lets the stems take up water more easily.

Arrange the flowers to your heart's content. Place the vase in a cool spot, away from direct sunlight, where you can enjoy the sight and scent of fresh-cut flowers from your garden. Reference

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