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A few simple considerations will help get the best from your home grown cut flowers (as well as bought ones) and prolong the vase life.
The flowers, foliage, stems and seed pods of a range annuals, perennials, bulbs, as well woody plants, can be used for flower arranging See cut flower growing and selection for more information.
Precaution: It is best to use gloves when picking and handling cut flowers. All parts of some flowers, such as monkshood (Aconitum), are poisonous; others can cause skin irritation. See the poisonous plants page for details
Conditioning is preparing the cut flowers to prolong their longevity in displays and ensure they look their best. Condition the cut stems by following these five simple steps:
A home-made preservative is unlikely to be as effective as a proprietary one but is simple and cheap to make.
To make a one litre of the solution
Stir the water thoroughly before adding the flowers.
Problems to look out for;
The Cutting Garden by Sarah Raven (Frances Lincoln Ltd. 1996, 0-7112-1047-0)
The New Flower Arranger by Fiona Barnett (Lorenz Books 1995, ISBN: 1859670806)
Allan M. Armitage's Specialty Cut Flowers by Allan Armitage (Timber Press 1993, ISBN 0-88192-225-0.1)
Postharvest Handling and Storage of Cut Flowers, Florists Greens and Potted Plants by Joanna Nowak and Ryszard M Rudnicki (Timber Press 1990, ISBN 0-412-37350-5)
Introduction to Floriculture edited by Roy A Larson (Academic Press 1992, ISBN 0-12-437651-7)
These books are made available through the RHS Lindley Library.
Floral Design InstituteFlower and Plants AssociationFlower ballingFlower mutations: proliferationCut flowers: growing and selectionNational Association of Flower Arrangement SocietiesNon-flowering woody plantsPollen beetles
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Join the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9