When and how do we cut them? - What shouldn’t we do? - How can we help our cut flowers last longer? Proper Cutting Cut your flowers in the morning before the sun comes up, or in the early evening after it sets. The sun closes the pores of the blossoms, preventing the stems from absorbing water properly. Be sure to use a sharp knife or shears to avoid bruising stem tissues and leaving ragged edges. Cut steins at an angle. This will provide the stem with a broader surface for absorbing water. Place your cuttings carefully, in a flat flower basket, and avoid crowding the blossoms. Plunge into ice cold water up to the flower head as quickly as possible. This will harden them. If necessary, make several trips to and from the flower bed. Long stems and small buds will add to the beauty of the arrangement. Material Preparation Around one third of the foliage should be removed from the stem. Remove all top buds which tend to make the stem heavy. Gladioli for example, have small florets at the top which, if they do not open, will weigh down the other blossoms by contrasting unpleasantly with the lighter effect of the latter. Bleeding stems Dahlias, Poppies, Hollyhocks, Poinsettias A milky or glue like substance runs from the stems of these flowers when cut. To stop this action, hold the cut end of the stem over the flame of a candle until it is sealed. This should take about twelve seconds. Another method is dipping the stem tips into boiling water for a couple of minutes, being very careful to protect the flowers from the steam. After this is done, plunge them directly into ice water. Poppies and dahlias react most favorably to the latter method.