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Archive for the ‘Fresh Cut’ Category

How to Select Fresh-cut Flowers

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Careful selection is key.  Get the healthiest, freshest bunch possible by taking a peek at the stems.  Consider how clean and fresh the cut is, and the color of the stems near the cut: are the stems black?  If so, pass.  Are the stem bottoms clogged with white gooey stuff?  Pass.  Is the bucket-water cloudy or dark?  If yes, you may want to look for a vendor that takes better care of their merchandise or at least find a bucket with clean water.  While you’re checking your stems, be careful not to drip water on the tops of other bouquets, because this encourages disease.

Now inspect the health and quality of the foliage and flowers.  If you see black or grey slimy spots, pass!!  In fact, I recommend choosing from an entirely different bucket. The black spots are a fungus that spreads like wildfire and is very common problem caused by moisture on the leaves.  (Careless customers or vendors that allow water to fall onto the leaves of the bouquets are usually the culprit.)  Don’t think you can simply remove the offending foilage because the disease has usually spread beyond your sight and you’ll likely find afflicted areas tomorrow that you thought were okay today.  I honestly think this is the most common problem I see at big box stores, and local grocers.

Many tropicals, protea, orchids, chrysanthemum and “Peruvian lilies” or alstromeria are among the longest lasting of cut flowers.  If those are available to choose from, I would go straight for those.  Look for netted socks around the mums (this protects them during shipment) and look for orchid and tropical stems to be individually packaged in water vials.  For tropicals, keep the display area humid by misting your flowers early each morning because too dry of air will hasten senescence.  Most South American roses will be open and spongey and fresh, so looking for only tight hard roses isn’t always necessary, it really depends on the variety and source.  Personally, I pass on roses unless they are grown organically.  Peonies should be tight, almost closed, if you expect to get decent shelf-life from them.  Tulips are easy to pick : if they are squeeky and the bottom stems are clean, they are prime.

Tips to Care for Fresh Cut Roses

Friday, May 4th, 2012

They are a good cut flower because the stems are straight, strong and sturdy. The flowers last in water for up to a week and the blossoms stay open. While they need no special treatment, unlike say poppies which need their stems seared with heat, they will last longer and stay fresher with a little extra effort.

Cut the roses with a sharp knife or pair of pruners right above a pair of five leaved stems. This will encourage the bush to send out another flowering cane. Cut first thing in the morning when the flowers are fresh and full of moisture. Choose buds which are partially open or roses that are completely open. Buds that are tight but showing color may or may not open fully when cut. Place immediately in a bucket of water you carry with you while you’re cutting the roses.

Preparing the roses makes them last longer. Remove leaves that will be below the water line when in a vase. Remove diseased or torn leaves as well. If a petal is creased or damaged take it off the rose. Tight buds won’t open and take energy and water away from the rose flower itself so take those off as well.

Even if you’ve just cut the roses from your garden they’ll still benefit from conditioning. Cut the stems at a 45 degree angle. This broadens the stems surface so it can draw in more water. If possible do this under running water or in a sink of water so no air enters the stem. Use sharp scissors, a knife or pruners. The cut should not crush the stem. Place the rose after it’s been cut in a bucket of ice water for an hour. The ice water should come up to the level of the first leaves left on the stem. Keep the roses in the ice water until you’re ready to arrange them. Make sharp cuts if you need to shorten the rose stem for an arrangement.

Remove the roses from the vase every day. Rinse the stems off. Fill the vase with fresh ice water and replace the roses. If the roses are in floral foam, fill the sink with water and submerge the container of floral foam in the sink for 15 minutes to re soak the foam. If a rose is wilting, cut the stem and put into very hot water. This sometimes shocks the rose back to life. Every other day recut the stems of the roses by 1/2 inch to expose fresh stem cells to the water. In an arrangement this isn’t possible, because you would have to take the rose out of the floral foam, cut the stem and reinsert it. When you lifted the stem out that created an air pocket.