Cut flowers may be kept fairly well if properly cared for. The two greatest enemies of cut flowers are evaporation of the water in the plant and rotting of the stems in water by bacteria. Florists keep their flowers in refrigerators in order to keep them cool and moist, and to reduce the loss of water from the tissues through evaporation.
When cut flowers are brought into the house, they should not be put in direct sunlight or near heated stoves or radiators. They should be kept cool and moist as much as possible. The ends of the stems should be cut off under water with a sharp knife. In this way, no air bubbles are formed at the ends of the tubes in the stem, and the water can go up the stem.
To prevent the growth of bacteria, the water in the flower bowls should be changed frequently. Small quantities of sugar and lemon juice may be added to the water to keep the flowers fresh and the colors brighter for a long time. This treatment is most useful in the care of red flowers which often tend to turn bluish with age. There are on the market a number of preparations which help flowers keep their fresh appearance longer. Aspirin, which is sometimes recommended to preserve flowers, is of little or no value for this purpose. Petals of some flowers fall directly after fertilization, so florists sometimes prevent this by removing the anthers as soon as the buds open.
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