Why you should cut flower stems 1-2 inches

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To ensure longer vase life of your fresh cut flowers, it’s important to give them a fresh trim every once in a while.  What many don’t know is that it’s very important to cut your stems quite frequently, we recommend every few days.  Find out the benefits of cutting your stems often and why you should cut flower stems 1-2 inches.

Why should I cut stems frequently?

If you are transporting fresh cut flowers home and they are dry for a period of more than 30 minutes, you should cut the stem once you get home before arranging them in a vase.  When a fresh cut flower is cut and kept dry, the cut off flower stem protects itself against infections and drying out through the cutting wound by sealing it, much like a wound on our skin.  This means when cut flowers are put into a vase with solution, the water absorption is greatly decreased or even completely stopped, resulting in premature demise of the entire flower.  This also happens when stems are in vase arrangements for long periods of time.  Flower ends soon become waterlogged and mushy when in solution, making it important to re-cut stems every few days.  If the end of the stem becomes too waterlogged, the flowers may begin to droop and lose their petals more quickly due to lack of hydration.  It’s also worth noting that most of the germs and organic matter accumulate towards the bottom of stems, making this a portal for bacteria growth.  Re-cutting each stem will ultimately keep your flowers alive and fresher for longer.

Why should I cut 1-2 inches?

Many industrialists will lend the advice of cutting your stems 1/4 to 1/2 inch in order to preserve the length of the stem.  However, 75-85% of bacteria, organic matter and germs are lodged in the bottom 1-2 inches of stems.  It’s important to open stem tissue by eliminating micro-organisms with a fresh cut so solution can flow freely through the stem towards the head of the flower for proper nourishment.  In order to see the greatest effects, try to trim the stems 1-2 inches with an angled cut (if you have a shorter stem flower, try to stick with close to 1 inch).  With a sharp knife or sharp floral cutter or scissor, make an angled on the stem.  This will help ensure proper water uptake for the stem.  If you fear trimming 1-2 inches will result in your arrangement not being tall enough for your vase, try using an opaque vase.  This will allow you to use Chrysal Floral Foam at the bottom to add height to your arrangement that is lost with the cut stems.  Also, as you are trimming the stems, be sure to trim foliage too so it does not get submerged in water.

Quick Tip

Are you afraid that cutting stems will disturb the flower placement in a beautiful arrangement? A quick tip is to tie the stems with twine just above the vase’s edge before taking them out for a cut.  Make sure to hold the tied arrangement firmly as you re-cut the stems.  After you are finished, place the arrangement back into the clean vase (remove the twine) and refill with fresh water and Chrysal flower food.


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