Special/Signature Issues » Home Style

For Better Petals


Flowers are easy to love, but hard to keep around. Home Style caught up with florist Al Brockwell, owner of Floraculture, for some advice on how to keep those blossoms going a little longer. Here are some tips:

  • Tulips too open? Cut a quarter-inch horizontal slit on the stem right below the petals to close the blossoms.

  • Mist full-strength lemon juice on your gardenia blossoms to prevent browning.

  • After cutting fresh irises, keep them in a bucket of ice water. This allows them to harden faster and live longer.

  • Add three tablespoons of gin to paperwhites every time you water. The gin will prevent them from growing too tall and flopping over.

  • Cut allium under a stream of mouthwash to prevent them from smelling like onions.

  • Prolong your peonies by wrapping them in wet newspaper and refrigerating. They will keep up to five days.

  • Dip lilies of the valley in three parts water and one part white glue to create a starching effect. Great for making a corsage.

  • When "conditioning" hydrangeas — preparing the cut blossoms prior to arranging them — always cut the stems at an angle, dip them in alum (from the spice aisle at the grocery store) and place them in hot tap water with a floral preservative.

  • To help anthurium and ginger last longer, spray them with Pam or a similar vegetable oil spray. It doubles the life of the flower.

  • To condition woody flowering branches, recut with good pruners at an angle, then make about a 1-inch vertical cut into the center of the stem and place the branch in hot water. This helps with water absorption.

  • Soak roadside flowers underwater for five minutes. The bugs will to float to the top for easy removal.

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