How to Cut Stems of Flowers


Everyone knows one of the great pleasures of gardening is being able to enjoy the color and fragrance of fresh flowers indoors. What many people don't know is that carefully cutting and handling the flowers from the very beginning can make a huge difference in how long they will look good in the vase. Even store bought flowers can be rejuvenated at home with proper care. By following a few simple guidelines, you can fill your home with crisp, fresh floral arrangements which will last a long time.

Step 1

Cut flowers just as they open in the early morning with sharp pruning shears, and immerse their stems immediately in water. Fill a bucket with clean water and bring it with you into the garden so you can place the flowers in just after you cut them.

Step 2

Remove the lower leaves and any other foliage that would be below the water level in the vase you want to use for the finished arrangement. Trim back or remove the foliage of large leaved flowers to reduce moisture loss.

Step 3

Fill a clean bucket with tap water that is about 100 degrees, or about the temperature of bath water.

Step 4

Under running, warm water, cut at least 2 inches away from the bottoms of the stems. Make your cuts at a 45-degree angle using sharp scissors or pruning shears.

Step 5

Transfer the newly cut flowers immediately to a clean vase filled with warm water. Do not use softened water or water with high salt content in your flower vases. Purchase reverse osmosis water for flower arrangements if your water contains salts.

Things You'll Need

  • Sharp pruning shears
  • Scissors
  • Bucket


  • University of California at Davis: It's Easy to Extend the Life of your Cut Flowers
Keywords: cut flowers, preserve flowers, cut flower stems

About this Author

Malia Marin is a landscape designer and freelance writer, specializing in sustainable design, native landscapes and environmental education. She holds a Masters in landscape architecture, and her professional experience includes designing parks, trails and residential landscapes. Marin has written numerous articles, over the past ten years, about landscape design for local newspapers.