Growing and Preserving Cut Flowers

There is nothing more cheerful than vases full of fresh flowers placed around the house that have been grown and cut from your own garden. A cut flower is one that has been cut at the stem and placed in a vase of water. Cut flowers are grown from both annual and perennial plants. Here is a short list (by common name) of cut flowers that you can grow in your own garden to enjoy for many years to come.

Annuals (live for one growing season):

? Baby's Breath

? Chrysanthemum

? Cornflower

? Cosmos

? Marigold

? Petunia

? Snapdragon

? Sweet Peas

? Verbena

? Zinnia

Perennials (live for two or more growing seasons):

? Aster

? Columbine

? Dianthus

? Iris

? Lily of the Valley

? Painted Daisy

? Peony

? Shasta Daisy

? Sweet William

? Tulip

Here are five tips to extend the vase life of cut flowers.

1. Cut flowers in your garden during the morning or early evening when the temperatures are cooler. With sharp pruners, cut above a node or a dormant bud. As you cut the flowers, place them in a bucket of lukewarm water.

2. Once indoors, cut the stems with a sharp knife (un-serrated) on a slant under running water.

3. Always remove leaves that will be below the water line in the vase, but do not remove thorns from roses as it tends to shorten their life.

4. Condition the cut flowers by placing the stems in lukewarm water for several hours in a cool, dark place. This process will allow the flowers to absorb water.

5. Arrange the flowers in a vase of lukewarm water. To slow the aging process, place the vase of flowers in a cool, well-ventilated place. Do not store or place cut flowers near unsealed fruits or vegetables, which may possibly produce ethylene, a gas that quickens ripening, or in the case of flowers, aging.

6. Change the water in the vase every two days. In mixed arrangements, various flowers may give off sap, which can be toxic to the other varieties in the vase. By frequently changing the water, you can avoid this and lengthen the life of cut flowers.

Growing your own flowers to fill beautiful vases in your home is a rewarding experience for most gardeners. To get started, visit your local nursery and select the plants that are best suited for your region and garden. Before you know it, you will have a house full of beautiful cut flower arrangements straight from your garden!

Lesley Dietschy is a freelance writer and the creator/editor of the Home Decor Exchange website. Please visit the website for home and garden decor resources, articles, decorating pictures, a shopping marketplace, free craft projects, and more. http://www.HomeDecorExchange.com

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