How to make lilacs and hydrangeas last longer


Don't you hate it when you bring home a big bunch of lilacs or hydrangeas and they wilt almost immediately? You have to know how to prep woody stemmed flowers properly if you want lasting bouquets, and floral designer Rebecca Cole shows you two ways to do it.

How to make lilacs and hydrangeas last longer

When you bring any woody-stemmed flowers or branches home, there are two ways to prepare them:

  1. Make a fresh angled cut with a clipper then take a hammer and smash the stem so that it splays out. This will allow a lot more water to get into the stem.
  2. The other way is to use clippers for a fresh angled cut, and then cut again with teh clippers -- this time straight up the middle of the stem. This, too, is to allow water to draw up the stem.

Hello I'm Rebecca Cole for and I'm here to teach you how to make your woody-stemmed flowers and branches last a whole lot longer. What I mean by woody stem is anything that still has the wood on it like a hydrangea, lilac, cherries, all those branches. Sometimes your leaves are going to be a woody stem leaf like the eucalyptus. And you need to treat them just a little bit differently than you would your flowers, because we need a nice big surface for the water to be drawn up so that it gets all the way to the head. Often our woody-stemmed plants and flowers are really long-stemmed, so you really want a nice big surface.

So first get a sharp utensil. A clipper or scissors or something. Make a really nice sharp angle cut, and that's still not going to be quit enough area for the water to be drawn up. So there’s two schools of thought.

One is that you take after that cut a nice cutting board or real strong surface, get a hammer, lay it on the cutting board and do a nice big smash two, three inches. All of that smashed wood now can draw the water up a lot better. And just put that in the water.

The other school of thought would be to take a nice woody-stemmed flower, plant, branch, whatever. Take off the leaves that are going to be in the water part. Do the same cut and instead of pounding, take the clippers and go up at a real big line, straight up the center of the stem. You see it opened up now, the middle of that stem. And all that middle area's going to be able to draw the water in a lot better.

Two schools of thought: Both will keep your branches lasting at least a week longer.

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  • Rebecca Cole

    Rebecca Cole Floral and Interior Designer Rebecca Cole is now one of the most in-demand interior and landscape designers in the country and has been declared a 'stylish, urban horticulturist' by New York Magazine and a 'garden guru' by the New York Post. more about this expert »

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