This question came to me from a student who regularly takes classes-just in time for the spring holidays. -AA
Q. I heard that we are not supposed to trim bulb flowers until we arrange them. I always trim my tulips before putting them into the treated water before designing. What is the correct way?
A. When flowers are cut any time it opens up the capillary system, this enables the flower to drink. When flowers drink the hydration movement is up through the stem, the foliage helps with the pumping to the blossom. When bulb flowers are cut it opens that system, water rushes to the flower petals, as it is supposed to. In the case of tulips, the petals become full of water, and as a result open because the petals become heavy. Leaving the stem uncut will inhibit the uptake of water and the petals will not open as fast. When bulb flowers are put in warm water they drink faster and open up faster, in cold water the system runs slower, the petals open slower. In fact, if the bulb flowers are opening too fast for you, drop some ice cubes in the vase. You know what happens when your feet are cold, your shoulders curl up.
Remember, tulips continue to grow each time they are cut. When designing with daffodils and all narcissus, they produce a natural sap when cut each time. Cut them, let them stay in cool water alone for around 4 hours. Do not recut when placing in a design. The other flowers will drink the sappy water and clog their hydration system.
There is a special Flower Food for Ephemerals. Please check with your local florist professional for this product. Adding sugar, bleach, clear soda will lessen the life of all of your cut flowers.