Tips On Making Fresh Cut Flowers Last LongerThere are few things nicer in life than receiving abouquet of fresh cut flowers, beautifully wrapped in apresentation box, directly from the florist. They are awonderful way of saying, “Thanks, I’m thinkingabout you.”To stop them from wilting and to allow you to enjoytheir beauty longer, there are a few steps that you cantake to extend their “shelf life”. Once the stems have been severed the fresh cut flower is taken from its natural lifeline. Place them in water as soon as you possibly can. Fill a bucket half way or so with warm water. Flowers will take up warm water much faster than they will cold water. Add a preservative to this water; the preservative kills any bacteria in the water. Cut flowers only drink through the severed ends of the stems; they do not drink through the sides of the stems or the foliage. For this reason, do not fill the bucket past half way as any foliage which is left on the stems and is submerged below the water line will quickly rot. The pollutants from the rotting matter will pollute the water, feeding the bacteria and accelerating the death of the flower. Marigolds, Chrysanthemums and Daisies give off a particularity offensive odor when they are left underwater for a time. With water bucket and cut flowers in hand, head for the garden. Use sharp secateurs or scissors and cut the stems on an angle, the slant offers more surface area for the flower to drink. Remove any foliage from the stems that would stand under water. Once this is done immediately put the flowers in the water. The idea of a bucket is to allow the flowers to be reasonably loose and not crowded. When the bucket is too full the flowers can be packed together, causing the petals to become bruised and squashed. Put the bucket with the flowers in a cool place and let them enjoy a long drink. Leave the flowers in this cool place overnight. This step conditions the flowers as it allows the stems to be saturated with water and the flowers crisp. Flowers that have been conditioned will last twice as long as those that haven’t gone through the process.Commercial available flower preservatives are available in a garden center; alternatively a capfulof household bleach is sufficient. When a preservative is used there will be no need to re-cut thestems and the water will only need changing twice a week.