Trimming and conditioning your cut flowers before working them into arrangements is always time well spent. Preparation techniques can extend the life of the blooms and make assembly of the floral compositions come together more smoothly and more quickly. You will be able to focus on the artistic elements of complementing and contrasting the flowers instead of pausing to prep each stem individually.
Prepare a storage vase for the cut and conditioned flowers. Fill a large vase at least halfway full of tepid water. Dissolve 1 to 2 packets of commercial floral preservative in the water and agitate to dissolve. Or prepare a homemade preservative by mixing 1 to 2 teaspoons of sugar and 2 to 4 drops of household chlorine bleach into the water.
Fill a sink or large bowl with tepid water.
Take each flower in hand and strip off any foliage that will fall below the water line in the vase. Also trim around 75 percent--or all--of the stem foliage according to your liking.
Hold the end of each stem under the tepid water (in the sink or bowl) and cut 1/4 to 1/2 inch off of the bottom on the stem; make the cut at an angle. Immediately place each flower stem into the prepared water.
Store the conditioned and prepared flowers in the treated water in a cool, dark or low-light location until ready to assemble into the final arrangements.