Homemade Floral Preservative
A floral preservative helps to reduce bacteria formation to extend the life of flowers. To make your own floral preservative, you will need fresh lemons, sugar and bleach. This formula is for one quart of water, so adjust the amounts accordingly if your vase will have more or less water.
Fill the vase half full with tap water; in our example, one quart of water fills the vase halfway. It’s best to let the water set overnight to allow chorine to evaporate. Squeeze cut lemons to extract two tablespoons of juice. Add the lemon juice to the water in the vase along with one tablespoon of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of chlorine bleach. Swirl the vase to mix.
Gather the Flowers
Mid-morning is the best time to cut flowers. At that time, the flowers are the most hydrated. Sterilize the garden clippers by dipping them into a cup of water in which two tablespoons of bleach has been added. Choose flowers that just opened or buds about to open. Make an angle cut on the stem of the flower close to the base of the plant.
Preparing the Flowers
Bloom Width. Consider the width of the flower when in full bloom. The largest blooms (like dahlia) will be the shortest in the arrangement, mid-sized blooms (like purple coneflower) will be the tallest and the smallest blooms (like cosmos) will be at varying heights.
Stem Length. The stems of tallest flowers should be roughly twice as long as the vase is tall. The stems of the shortest flowers should be one-half to three-quarters the height of the tallest flowers. If working with all one kind of flower, cut one-third to twice the height of the vase (these are now the tallest flowers). Cut one-third to three-quarters the length of the tallest flowers, and cut one-third to half the length of the tallest flowers. Snip off leaves that will be under water.
Arranging the Flowers
Drop three to five of tallest flowers into the vase, with the varying number dependent on the width of the opening of the vase. The stems of the flowers should be evenly distributed around the vase, forming a teepee inside the vase.
Push three large blooms into the vase between the stems of the tallest flowers. Use the smallest blooms to fill in empty areas, cutting some of the stems so they are at varying heights. Ferns can be added to the rear of the display or baby’s breath can be added to further fill out the display.
Place the vase away from ventilation vents and away from direct sunlight. Change the water every two or three days and replenish with fresh preservative.
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Source: FlowerArrangement, FreshFromTheGarden