Double Duty Your Perennials: The cheapest way to enjoy cut flower is to grow your own. This doesn't need to be an ongoing expense, because most perennial flowers can easily serve double duty as cut flowers. Here are some good examples: black-eyed Susan (Rudbekia), blazing star (Liatris), chrysanthemum, delphinium, false sunflower (Heliopsis), goldenrod (Solidago), iris, peony (Paeonia), purple coneflower (Echinacea), Shasta daisy (Leucanthemum), and yarrow (Achillea).
Incorporate Alternative Plant Materials: Whether you buy a bouquet of cut flowers at the store, or grow them yourself, an easy way to add more color, texture, and interest to your arrangements is to utilize all of the plant materials that are available to you. This may include incorporating things from around your yard (like branches, seed pods, cones, herbs) or kitchen (like sliced fruit or vegetables) into your arrangements.
Use Flowers That Go From Fresh to Dry: Another great way to stretch your cut flower dollars is to choose long-lasting flowers that can be used when fresh, and then dried and used again. Good choices for fresh-to-dry flowers include globe amaranth (Gomphrena), lavendar (Lavandula), cockscomb (Celosia), statice (Limonium), strawflower (Helichrysum), annual salvia, heather (Erica), baby's breath (Gypsophila), cattail (Typha), and goldenrod (Solidago).
Tip: Some flowers hold their color after they dry better than others. You'll get the best color retention if you dry your plants in a dark location, because light can bleach the colors. Blue and yellow flowers retain most of their color when air-dried, whereas pink flowers tend to fade.
Hunt for Bargain Containers: Anything that can hold water has the potential to be fashioned into a vase for cut flowers. From a simple glass jar, to a pair of old rubber boots, there are plenty of places to find inexpensive and interesting vases and containers: yard sales, dollar stores, antique stores, Goodwill, and your own kitchen cupboards and closets.
Remember, Simple Can Be Beautiful: You don't need to create an over-the-top, show-stopping arrangement for beautiful design. Don't overlook a single beautiful flower alone in a vase-simple, yet effective.
I love hydrangea as cut flowers...every week or so I cut some off of ours in the garden.
I have tried many things when it came to getting flowers on special occasions; even picking ones from my rose garden. Sugar and aspirin are the couple I did most often. With this I added a penny. I was never sure why, but my Grandma always did this so of course it was a good thing!
Source: Article at doctor's office from older magazine.
By Luana M. from San Diego, CA
I never knew that before about pennies. Never heard that one. I'll try it next time.
Every professional florist knows that the methods used to cut flowers and condition their stems can significantly extend their vase life. Here are a few easy tricks that will help you lengthen the life of the flowers you cut from your own garden.
My husband knows that I love fresh flowers so he brings them home to me quite often. Last week, I received some beautiful fresh red roses, which I immediately put in a vase. However, we happened to go away that weekend, and when we came back the roses had drooped considerably, but otherwise were not in bad shape.
I remembered that florists sometimes use wire to hold up the heads of flowers. I had the idea of using sections of clear plastic straws instead. I cut the straw in 3 pieces, and then slit them along the side. That way, I could slip the straw section over the part of the stem near the bloom, where it was sagging. Voila! A little fussing with the placement in the vase, and I had a bouquet which would last a few more days.
For more support of the drooping stem, you can tape the straw section together, once it's on the stem, with clear tape. Also remember that it's best to try to arrange the flowers with the reinforcement AGAINST the droop to better withstand it.
By Pam from Los Angeles, CA
It also helps to keep blooms of any kind (and greenery) fresh if you will use a sharp knife to cut off about half an inch of stem every day. This makes it possible for the bloom to take up the water that it needs.
This works best if you cut then immediately put the stem in water. I used to work for a florist.
What is that magic stuff in the little packet that comes with flowers delivered by the florist? Just add a few drops of chlorine bleach and a teaspoon of sugar to a quart of water for a home-made equivalent. Mystery solved, money saved.
To make cut flowers last for weeks instead of days, use 7-Up or Sprite instead of water. Cut the ends every other day or so and freshen the liquid. Roses last for weeks!
I bought this interesting bunch from a flower market last weekend, and I'm sure the sign next to it said "we don't need any water" but I want to confirm that and can't remember the name! Please help :)
Perhaps they will dry out therefore there's no need for water. They look like a variety of Thistles.
Did you get some cut flowers? Here's a little prep work you can do to make them last longer. Using pruning shears, make a fresh cut at the bottom of the stem. Do this under running water.
To make fresh cut flowers last longer, use 1/2 water and 1/2 soda, such as Sprite or any clear color soda. Your flowers will last for weeks and weeks and they will remain beautiful.
When cutting fresh lilacs, use a hammer to lightly crush the woody part of the cut ends to about 2 inches up the stem. The lilacs will then take up more of the water in the vase and stay fresher longer.
Another tip for keeping flowers fresh and even for revival is to put some fizzy clear lemonade into the water. This will revive them fantastically.
The mock orange have woody stems. In order to prepare them to draw more water in the vase, I crush the stems with a hammer. The flowers can last longer that way.
Throw a couple of pennies into the water with your fresh cut flowers to keep them alive longer!
Keep them in ice water, as much as you can. Store them in the refrigerator at night (in the winter, you can put them outside on the back porch). I have gotten cut flowers to last 2 weeks this way.
Fresh cut flowers should always be placed in warm water rather than cold because the stem will absorb the warm water more rapidly. This prevents air bubbles from blocking the stem.
Do you mash the stem on fresh cut roses or not? I have rose bushes that I cut regularly. I am told to mash the stem before putting in a vase. I say no to that and that they go into the vase after a slant cut. Please let me know.
All you need to do is cut your roses on an angle, about 1" or less and add some sugar to the water. They should last a few extra days longer than usual. Enjoy! Take lots of pictures!