How to Cut Fresh Flower Stems


Fresh flower arrangements brighten up any home. As soon as flowers start blooming in the garden, it is time to start cutting. Removing blooms from plants will encourage growth and supply the garden and home with more flowers throughout the season. Purchase a commercial flower preservative from a local florist before cutting blooms to lengthen the life of the freshly-cut bouquet.

Step 1

Fill a gallon size container, such as a bucket, with warm water from a faucet. The water should be between 100 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit, unless cutting bulb flowers such as tulips that prefer cold water. Dissolve the flower preservative in the water--follow the directions on the preservative packet to determine how much solution to use. Mix the solution in the water thoroughly using a paint stir stick.

Step 2

Cut flowers one inch from the bottom where the flower stem meets the main stem. Use a pair of clean garden shears, cutting at a 45 degree angle to allow for greater water uptake through the stem. Cut flowers in the early morning when the flowers are hydrated from the cool night air and the morning dew.

Step 3

Place the stems of the flowers in the water solution in the gallon size container. Most flowers should be left in the solution for an hour before being placed in a vase. Some plants, such as those with hollow stems like dahlias, will do best if water is directly poured in the stalk. After pouring water in the stem, plug the end with a piece of cotton and place in a vase.

Step 4

Fill a clean vase three-fourths full of lukewarm water from a faucet. Place the flowers in the vase for display after flowers have finished soaking in the solution.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden shears
  • Gallon size container
  • Paint stir stick


  • Brooklyn Botanic Garden: Cut-Flower Care--How to Make Your Fresh-Cut Flowers Last
  • Master Gardeners of Santa Clara County: Extending Life of Cut Flowers

Who Can Help

  • MSNBC: Keep Your Flowers Fresh this Valentine's Day
Keywords: cut fresh flowers, cutting flowers, harvesting flowers

About this Author

Sommer Sharon has a bachelor's degree in IT/Web management from the University of Phoenix and owns a Web consulting business. With more than 12 years of experience in the publishing industry, her work has included "Better Homes and Gardens," "Ladies' Home Journal," "MORE," "Country Home," "Midwest Living," and "American Baby." Sharon now contributes her editorial background by writing for several Internet publications.