Flowers provide a touch of the garden inside the house. A bunch of wildflowers happily greets visitors in an entry way, and a bouquet of cheery daisies in the kitchen adds a positive note to start the day. A fragrant rose on a night stand is a welcoming touch in a guest room. If they're not picked properly, though, they can be damaged--so pick them with care, following a few simple guidelines.
Choose the early morning for picking flowers. At that time, the plants are hydrated and not heat-stressed from the hot midday sun.
Select flowers that stay open. Some flowers, like gazanias, close up when the day is cloudy, or in the evening. Those types of flowers will close when brought indoors.
Cut the flowers with as much stem as possible without taking too many buds. A stem with lots of buds means there won't be flowers blooming in the following days. Flowers with sturdy stems such as zinnias, daisies, roses, larkspur and cosmos are better cut flowers than those with weaker stems, such as petunias.
Plunge the cut flowers immediately into a bucket of water that you carry with you as you cut. The less time the blossoms spend out of water the longer they'll last. Several varieties of flowers, once they wilt will not perk up again. Others like snapdragons look like they're half-dead, but once they get a cool drink, come right back.
Move the bucket of cut flowers into a shady area. Take a flower stem out and remove the leaves from the lower portion of the stem. Cut the stem at a 45-degree angle and place in a fresh bucket of ice water. Leave the flowers in the iced water for at least an hour before arranging.
Rinse the first bucket out with a solution of a tablespoon of household bleach to a gallon of water. The bleach kills any mold or fungi that could affect future cut flowers.