Keep Cut Flowers Fresh: Snapdragon Bouquet

One reason I get so excited about spring and summer is that I’ll have fresh flowers I can cut from outside and bring in for all over the house. Fresh flowers make me so happy, and when I can have a bunch without having to buy them — super happy.

snapdragon bouquetMy favorite flowers to grow for cutting are knockout roses (I put them everywhere when they are in bloom), with zinnias being a very, very close second.

I do have a “winter” garden, composed of snapdragons, pansies, and sweet williams, but it never occurred to me until this week that any of them were appropriate for cutting and bringing indoors.snapdragons growing in flower gardenBoy, was I wrong.

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Five Ways to Keep Flowers Fresh

1)  Use sharp shears made for cutting stems.

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2) Cut stems at an angle. This helps with water absorption.

snapdragon stems

3) Treat different flowers differently. For instance, flowers with woody stems, like azaleas, benefit from having their stems pounded so that they can soak up water. Snapdragons do well if their stems are cut at an angle (again) under running water once you bring them inside. Hydrangeas are complicated….

4) Strip the stems before you put your fresh flowers in a vase. You don’t want any leaves or buds below the water line for sure, and probably not even below where the top of the vase (or “vase” — I used a cleaned off jar) hits. Extra foliage in the water can contaminate the water, and your flowers won’t last as long, which brings us to…

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5) Make flower food. There are various tricks out there, including crushing an aspirin tablet, pouring some Listerine in with the water, and using lemon-lime soda. I made the following mixture, which both nourishes the flowers and keeps the water bacteria free.

Cut Flower Food

In a 3-quart container (I used an empty orange juice bottle donated by a friend), mix together:

  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 teaspoons bleach
  • 6 Tablespoons lemon juice

Fill with warm water. Use right away or have on-hand for small vases you’ll put freshly cut flowers in.


snapdragons bouquet