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Kitchen Gardening

What Makes Cut Flowers Last Longer?

Everyone has heard some trick to keep a bloom-filled vase beautiful. We find out which ones really work

Fine Gardening – Issue 163

One of the great joys of gardening is taking beautiful blooms from favorite plants and placing them indoors to brighten a room. Cut flowers, however, can quickly lose their beauty. A quick internet search yields a wide variety of methods claiming to prolong the life of cut flowers. Most of the methods involve adding something to the water in the vase, usually items found in the average home: bleach, lemon-lime soda, vine­gar, and others. Many recipes combine two or more ingredients intended to add food and delay decomposition, and include cultural practices, such as trimming stem ends at an angle under running water as well as refreshing the water every two days and retrimming the stem ends. It quickly becomes overwhelming.

I confess that I am a bit of a lazy gardener. For cut flowers, I arrange them in a vase, add water, and throw them out individually when…

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