How to Cut a Flower Stem Correctly

5 min read

Flowers are an excellent way to show people that you love them, think of them, and care. You may have received a bouquet from someone recently, or you may have picked some beautiful flowers from your garden. Now, though, you want to make them last as long as possible. Let’s find out more about flower stems below:

• What is a flower stem?

• Different types of flower stems

• The four primary functions of a stem

• Components of flower stems

• How to cut a stem properly

• General Tips for Cutting Flower Stems

What Is a Flower Stem?

A flower stem is one of a plant’s structural axes. It supports the flowers and leaves of a plant and helps the nutrients (water and fertilizer) reach the roots. This is in the form of glucose when the leaves soak up the nutrients.

Different Types of Flower Stems

There are many types of flower stems, and it can be helpful to learn about all of them. That way, you are more aware of how it is going to ‘stand’ while in the vase and how it draws water. We are going to discuss each type of stem below:

Hearty Stems

Hearty stems are also sometimes called solid stems. Examples can include marigolds, celosia or cockscomb, statice, and clarkia. These flowers should sit in lukewarm water with a preservative added about an hour before they are arranged in a vase.

Hollow Stems

Flowers with hollow stems can include Dahlias, hollyhocks, amaryllis, lupin, Bells-of-Ireland, and Delphinium. Often, they have wide blooms. Their stems must be filled with water before being cut. To prolong their cut lives, you may want to turn the flower over and fill its stem with tepid water. Then, plug it with some cotton so that the water stays inside until it is put into the vase.

Bulbous Stems

A flower with a bulbous stem can include the hyacinth, tulip, iris, and daffodil. Generally, they are pulled from the ground instead of cut, so the stem can be quite firm and white. It’s usually best to cut them right above the white bulb. That way, water can be absorbed more thoroughly. Though most flowers are cut on an angle, daffodils and hyacinths have softer stems. Therefore, they should be cut horizontally. You should also use cold water for these types of flowers. Many of them bloom when the temperatures are low, so they are used to chilled water.

A tip here is to condition your daffodils separately from other flowers. They tend to exude poisonous sap when they are cut. This can shorten the lifespan of different cut flowers in the arrangement.

Soft Stems

Anemone, hellebore, and freesia are all examples of soft stems. Before arranging them, make sure that you place the ends of the stems in tepid water with cut flower food. This prolongs their life and helps them keep their vibrant colors.

The Four Primary Functions of a Stem

You should understand what a stem does for a flower. This includes:

• Supports and elevates the leaves, keeping it in sunlight and providing a space for the flower to grow

• Transportation of fluids between the shoots and roots

• Nutrient storage

• Producing new living tissue, since plant cells only live up to three years

Components of Flower Stems

Often, the stem is divided into internodes and nodes. The internodes can help distance the nodes from each other. Nodes hold at least one leaf, as well as the buds.

You can also find the phloem and xylem. The phloem includes the sieve tubes and companion cells, while the xylem tissue helps transport water with root pressure, capillary action, and transpiration pull. Both tissues are separated by the cambium, which can divide to form the phloem and xylem cells.

How to Cut a Stem Properly

There are many methods of cutting a flower stem, but here is the best way:

Cut on the Angle

To extend the life of cut flowers, cut each stem using a 45-degree angle. Make sure to cut each one separately. This increases the surface area, so the flower absorbs more water. Use a sterile knife or kitchen shears, and make sure they are sharp.

Cut Them Underwater

It’s best to cut the stems under a steady water stream. That way, the roots lose access to the water immediately. You also prevent airflow through the stem so that an air pocket can’t form.

Pay Attention to Length

Even if it looks like the stems have been cut, check them. Once they’re put underwater, cut up to an inch off from the bottom. If there is discoloration, cut away all of the browning. When leaves are present below the water line, cut them to prevent clouding and rot.

Cut at the Right Time

Once they are delivered, picked, or bought, you should re-cut all of the stems on your pre-arranged bouquet. That way, they rehydrate and are going to last longer. Cut the flower stems once every three days and make sure to change the water and clean the vase.

Consider the Type of Flower

Some flowers require more TLC than others, so make sure you research them. For example, daisies and alstroemeria are very thirsty, so they need more water. Some flowers, such as Birds of Paradise, desire warmer climates, so you should place them in locations above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Peonies and calla lilies can bruise easily and are more fragile. Therefore, you should be more careful with them.

General Tips for Cutting Flower Stems

A few helpful tips for cutting your stems include:

• Keep flowers in a cool environment (65 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit)

• Ensure flowers are away from cooling and heating vents, direct sunlight, away from electronics, and away from ceiling fans.

• Use an aspirin to prolong the life of your flowers.

• Keep arrangements away from ethylene gas released by fruit.

To sum everything up, fresh-cut or delivered flowers can be beautiful in your home, but you want them to last as long as possible. This means understanding how the stem works and how to cut it correctly so that it keeps water flowing through the stem.