Lilac
John Peden, The New York Botanical Garden

Making the Cut

Flowers for arrangements can be taken from flowering trees, shrubs, perennials, bulbs, and annuals. Annuals are some of the best candidates for cut flowers because they produce many flowers over a long season.

Shown here: 'Nadezhda' lilac


Hosta
Carlo A. Balistriere, The New York Botanical Garden

Variety Show

Mix flowers with different colors, sizes, shapes, and textures. Foliage can play an important role in your arrangements. Ferns, ornamental grasses, hostas, and other leaves make wonderful additions to any bouquet.

Shown here: hosta species from Japan


Dahlia
Courtesy of The New York Botanical Garden

When to Cut

Most flowers can be cut when their buds begin to show color. There are a few exceptions: dahlias, phlox, zinnias, marigolds, and chrysanthemums should be cut when the flowers are fully open.

Shown here: decorative dahlia (Dahlia 'Ryan C')


Garden to Vase by Linda Beutle
Courtesy of The New York Botanical Garden

Reading List

Want to create a bouquet with the flowers growing in your own garden, but overwhelmed by where to begin? This book by Linda Beutle is a handy resource to walk you through the entire process -- from cutting the blooms to creating special occasion arrangments.

Garden to Vase
$29.95
Available at the NYBG Shop


Aster
Courtesy of The New York Botanical Garden

Cutting Time

Experts recommend gardeners cut their flowers first thing in the morning. Be sure to bring a bucket of lukewarm water in which to place the freshly cut stems. Once indoors, remove the leaves from the lower portions of the stem, re-cut an additional inch off the stem, and immediately place back into the water to prevent air locks from forming.

To prevent wilting, change water frequently and re-cut stems.

Shown here: aster (Aster oblongifolius 'October Skies')


Vases
Courtesy of The New York Botanical Garden

The Vessel

The right vase can make or break your bouquet. It's key to select one that complements the size, weight, and color of the arrangement. Browse the well-chosen selection at The New York Botanical Garden's Shop to find one that's just right for you.

Assorted Vases
Prices vary
Available at the NYBG Shop


Zinnia
Courtesy of The New York Botanical Garden

Conditioning Flowers

Let freshly cut flowers stand in a cool place out of direct sunlight in tepid water for several hours -- preferably overnight. Cut all stems at a 45-degree angle, and split woody stemmed branches from flowering trees and shrubs with a 1-inch verticle cut. Add cut flower food to extend bloom time.

Shown here: zinnia (Zinnia elegens)


Pink hydrangea
John Peden, The New York Botanical Garden

Long-Lasting Hydrangeas

Lengthen the lifespan of these popular blooms by submerging them head down in a bowl of cold water for one hour to firm their petals. Allow flowers to drip dry, cut their stems at a 45-degree angle, and place stems in warm water overnight.

Shown here: pink hydrangea


Daffodil
Sara Cedar Miller, The New York Botanical Garden

Special Care Flowers

Daffodils exude a clear sap that can kill other flowers. Cut these flowers and soak them separately in a vase for one hour before adding them to your arrangements.

Plants with stems that tend to bend, such as tulips, are best bundled together and left to sit for several hours before being placed in an arrangement.

Shown here: daffodil (Narcissus)


Delphinium
Courtesy of The New York Botanical Garden

Hollow Stems

For hollow stemmed flowers, like delphiniums, lupines, and amaryllis, insert a thin stick or wire in the stems with water and cover with a cotton ball at the base bound by a rubber band.

Shown here: delphinium (Delphinium King Arthur Group)

For more gardening tips, visit The New York Botanical Garden.

--Sonia Uyterhoeven, garden expert, The New York Botanical Garden

 


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