It’s common knowledge among florists that cutting the stems is the best way to prolong the life of cut flowers. The traditional 45-degree angle cut at the bottom of the flower seems simple, but the process in which you do so can vary greatly.
So what’s the best way to cut your fresh flowers?
On an angle of course…
The angled cut is important as it allows for greater surface area and an increased water uptake. This allows the cut flowers to maintain their rigidity and keep the petals from dropping prematurely. As well, when florists put together arrangements, there is always the possibility that the flowers could be sitting directly on the bottom of the vase. If the stems are cut flat, there is the chance that the only way for water uptake will be blocked.
On a more aesthetic note, when cut flowers are trimmed on an angle they are much easier to lodge into fresh floral foams.
What do I use to cut them?
Scissors are the worst way to cut flowers stems as they also smash the plant tissues. Dull tools in general can crush or otherwise injure a stem, impeding its ability to draw up water.
When a dull tool is used to cut through flower stems, they release their cell contents. This can make vase water cloudier faster and ruin the otherwise clean appearance of a fresh-cut bouquet. Sharp knives do not pinch water conducting vessels and will keep the flower stem healthier longer.
If you’re too shy to use a knife there are alternatives available that are just as effective. The Hasami is the Japanese term for scissors. They are very sharp and made with hardened steel, making them perfect for cutting woody stems. Pruning shears are an obvious alternative to the knife, also made to deal specifically with cutting through tough and woody stems that would otherwise be impossible with a lesser tool. Finally, Paring Knives are a good substitute for a cut-flower knife but take care that the knife isn’t serrated as this will not create a clean cut.
Care after the cut.
Generally, ordinary tap water is perfectly fine for cut flowers, but flower food is always recommended. Each food contains carbohydrates to encourage flowers to bloom, citric acid to keep the bacteria from multiplying, and biocides to keep bacterial growth at bay in room temperature areas.
Have any other questions? Feel free to read the full article here, or contact us directly. We’re always happy to answer questions from fellow florist and flower aficionados.