for Displaying Cut Flowers.... at home or at the fair
Remove the foliage from the portion of the stems that will be
covered with water will rot, discolor the water, and the bacteria
growing in the water will block the stems causing the flowers
to wilt sooner.
bouquets at home don't need labels, exhibits for the fair do.
List the cultivar name as well as the type of flower (or vegetable)
on the entry tag. Keeping records of what you plant and where
will help you to know what each cultivar is when you prepare
your exhibits. Exhibits without the cultivar or variety name
are usually lowered one ribbon placing. Proper labeling insures
that the judge can base the placing on the proper criteria.
records also help you as you determine whether or not a specific
cultivar is worth growing again. Finally, fair visitors and
other exhibitors may be interested in growing the cultivars
of plants that you grew and can get the information from the
flowers helps them last longer by reducing stem blockage and
promoting quick water uptake. The vase life of many flowers,
especially roses, can be increased by re-cutting the stems while
holding them under water. This method prevents air from
getting into the stem and blocking water uptake. Since you'll
need to re-cut the stems, always cut them as long as possible
when harvesting your flowers. Cut the ends diagonally so they
won't rest flat on the bottom of the container. They'll be able
to absorb water more efficiently.
a bucket of lukewarm water with you as you harvest your flowers.
After cutting, place them in a cool location so they can take
up as much water as they can hold. Most flowers should be placed
in a refrigerator set at 35 to 40oF for 3 to 12 hours. If you
don't have room in the refrigerator or it contains fruits and
vegetables, place the flowers in a cellar or basement or other
cool area. Re-cut the stems just before exhibiting so stems
are sure to be open for water uptake.
Use a floral preservative -- either commercial or homemade.
floral preservative should reduce bacterial growth and provide
food for the cut flower. You can purchase packets of floral
preservative from local florists and mix according to directions
on the product.
are two recipes for homemade floral preservatives.
Floral Preservatives Recipe #1
- 2 c. lemon-lime soft drink (not diet) such as 7-up or Sprite
t. Liquid chlorine laundry bleach
Floral Preservatives Recipe #2
either of these recipes in place of plain water. The acidity of
the lemon-lime soda or vinegar lowers the pH of the water so bacteria
don't grow well; the chlorine bleach kills bacteria on the stems
and the sugar provides food for the flower.
- 2 T. white vinegar
t. chlorine bleach
the container is not usually judged in cut flower divisions,
it should still be a good size and shape for the flowers displayed.
The opening should be large enough that the stems don't have
to be forced into the neck, yet small enough that the blooms
don't fall in and become waterlogged.
all insects, soil and spray residue from the foliage, stems
and blossoms, but be careful not to bruise the foliage or petals.
Smooth the petals, remove faded blooms, petals and ragged leaves.
Grooming should not be evident, so if you have to remove too
much bad material, it is better to try and find another specimen.
mechanical damage occurs in transit! Pack containers carefully
and if possible, wrap individual blooms in tissue paper. Also,
pack a few extra flowers (vegetables and/or cookies!) in case
one gets damaged. If sending flowers or vegetables to State
Fair with your Extension Educator, be sure to let them know
if you packed extra so they can be discarded when not needed.
Correct number of specimens
check the required number of specimens in your fair book! Count
Prepared by: Susan Schoneweis, Extension Coordinator-Home/Environmental
Horticulture, UNL June 2001