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Make Your Cut Flowers Last Longer

by Colleen Moulding

Nothing lifts a room like fresh flowers, but they can be expensive. Here are ten tips to help you get the best out of your arrangements.

1). Buy flowers still in bud. You get the pleasure of watching them open and they will have a longer vase life than those bought in full bloom.

2). When you get your flowers home, strip off any leaves that will be below the water line, cut off the bottoms of the stems and give them a good long drink of lukewarm water.

3). Add a few drops of household bleach to the flower water to guard against the slime caused by bacteria and add a spoonful of sugar instead of commercially produced flower food.

4). Woody stemmed flowers, like roses, benefit from having the bottoms of their stems crushed and then split to help them take up water.

5). Bulb flowers such as daffodils should have their stems snipped across at an angle. Washing away the sticky white secretion will lengthen their life too.

6). To stop tulips flopping over, wrap the bunch tightly in wet newspaper and leave them in two to three inches of water for about one and a half hours. Push small pins through the stems just below the flower heads and they will stay soldier straight.

7). Don't leave flowers in warm rooms overnight. Extend their life by putting them in the coldest room in the house while you are asleep.

8). Improvise vases for any occasion by wrapping bottles, jars or plastic containers with tissue paper, fabric or coloured net, tied with ribbon, raffia or cord. Tiny flower prints or gingham for a casual country look, swagged silky fabric, bright or pastel tissue paper for more formal occasions. Or overlap shiny leaves around the outside of a glass and tie with raffia before arranging your flowers inside.

9). Place your floral arrangement in front of a mirror and it will look twice as big and beautiful.

10). Finally don't forget to top up your vases with fresh water every day for long lasting displays.

Colleen Moulding 2000

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