The delicate, frilly, clustered flower head of Queen Anne's lace, also known as wild carrot, is an attractive filler flower for bouquets and floral arrangements. Growing wild throughout the United States, Queen Anne's lace is a biennial, blooming the second year of growth, starting in the early summer. The broad, flat cluster of tiny, white or light-yellow flowers, with the identifiable single, dark-purple center flower, appear on long stems that are easy to harvest for cut flower creations. Fresh cut Queen Anne's lace has a vase life of three to seven days. Proper preparation and care will keep the flower fresh longer.
Harvest Queen Anne's lace flowering stems in the morning, after the dew is gone. Cut the stems longer than you will need, using a sharp knife or sharp hand shears. Place the cut stems in a container of water as you harvest them. The tiny blossoms of the Queen Anne's lace flower head should have some of the flowers already opened with the remaining unopened buds showing color. The blossoms will not open while in a bouquet if Queen Anne's lace is harvested too soon, before the flower buds are mature.
Remove any leaves and foliage from the stems that might become submerged in the vase water of your floral arrangement, using a sharp knife or shears.
Use a sharp knife to re-cut the ends of the Queen Anne's lace stems to the preferred length for your bouquet, while holding the stem under water. Cutting the stems under water prevents an air bubble from developing at the stem cut, which would block water uptake and cause the flower to wilt sooner.
Place the re-cut Queen Anne's lace stem in a vase filled with mixed floral preservative and warm water, following the directions on the floral preservative package. Or, mix 20 drops of household bleach with 1 qt. of warm water to use in your flower arrangement vase. Warm water is more easily absorbed up the stem of flowers, keeping the flower and stem fully hydrated. Queen Anne's lace flower clusters often suffer from water stress, meaning the stem and flower head do not receive adequate water supply and will wilt. Using warm water with floral preservative will extend the vase life of the Queen Anne's lace cut flowers.
Change the floral preservative water mixture in the vase every two to three days and re-cut 1/2- to 1 inch off the Queen Anne's lace stems, again, under water. Re-opening up the stem end and refreshing the water will keep the stem and flower head hydrated, extending the vase life.