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Stem Balancing Act

When creating your designs and choosing your gorgeous flowers, there is one very important thing to remember, each flower you chose has a particular type of stem and you need to make sure that those stems are treated so that your flowers stay fresh and beautiful for as long as possible. The one thing that I always recommend with any type of stem is to give it a fresh cut, a dip in quick dip (or other hydrating liquid) and then place it in tepid water for about 2 hours. After that, they should be stored in a cooler overnight. There are five general stem types, soft, firm, woody, hollow & bleeding.

Most spring flowers have a very soft stem and some of them actually give off a sap that will cause other flowers to wilt faster. Tulips and Gerbera Daisies are just two examples of soft stemmed flowers. Flowers with soft stems will need some extra support when creating your arrangements and are not really recommended for bouquets because they will droop. If you really want to use them in your bouquets, plan on wiring and taping them.

Carnations and orchids are examples of flowers with a firm stem. Making sure to give them a fresh cut is very important to avoid getting an airlock in the stem that will prevent water from getting up the stem and to the blossom. In order to prevent bacteria growth, you should remove the foliage from the stem area that will be under water.

Woody stemmed flowers, such as lilacs or flowering branches and shrubs should also get a fresh cut once they are received. Roses and Azaleas also fall into this group. You should remember to make sure to trim the and lower foliage that would be under the water line as well.

Hollow stemmed flowers such as dahlias and delphiniums can sometimes have problems taking in water once their stems are cut. Using the angle cut as recommended for all stems will help by giving a larger surface for water to enter into the stem. Misting the blossoms can also help provide water.

Poinsettias, daffodils and poppies have what is known as a bleeding stem. A bleeding stem will give off a milky sap when cut and it is recommended to use gloves when working with these kinds of stems just to avoid any allergic reaction. One way that you can treat flowers with a bleeding stem is to sear the ends with a candle and then placing the sealed stem into a bucket with tepid water. Daffodils should be prepared and placed in a bucket all by themselves as their sap can cause problems with other flowers while they are being conditioned.

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