Freshly cut flowers make decorative arrangements for living areas and workspaces. The colorful, fragrant blooms bring a little of the outdoors inside. Not all of the flowers are in full bloom when you cut them or receive the arrangement, and some arrangements even contain buds, or flowers that have not bloomed at all yet. Proper preparation of the flowers in your fresh arrangement is key to encourage these buds to open and display their beauty.
Cut flowers for your arrangement in the morning, if you have the option of cutting your own fresh flowers. Morning cutting guarantees the flowers have had a night to "drink" in lots of moisture without the heat of the sunlight stripping it away. These flowers are also filled with fresh morning dew, creating a moister, healthy flower.
Trim the stems of your fresh flowers, whether you cut them yourself or purchase them, with sharp, clean cutting utensils such as shears or a knife. Cut the stems of the flowers 1 to 2 inches from the bottom, and make a diagonal cut on the stem. The stem should look like a spear. Cut the flowers while holding the stem under running water to help them take in more water.
Place the flowers into a vase or container. Add lukewarm water to the container, halfway or two-thirds of the way up. Inspect your flowers in the container. Pull off any foliage that sits below the water line in the vase to prevent rotting and bacteria growth.
Add commercial flower food/preservative to the vase. This often comes packaged with purchased cut flowers. If you have no commercial flower food/preservative, make your own from 1 tsp. each of table sugar and household bleach and 2 tsp. lemon juice mixed into 1 qt. lukewarm water. Adding food/preservative to the water helps encourage buds to bloom and keeps other flowers looking vibrant longer.
Maintain fresh flowers by changing the water weekly or whenever the water looks cloudy. Cut the stems of any buds that begin to droop to help them take in more water and bloom faster. Remove any wilted flowers from the vase to prevent bacteria growth from harming your budding flowers.