Garden Tip 56:


It is high season for hydrangeas and there are more flowers this season than any year I can remember. Pinks, whites, blues, mopheads, lacecaps, hydrangea flowers are everywhere. With this plethora of bloom there are even enough flowers to cut and enjoy inside.

I have heard of many ways to treat the cut stem to increase the longevity of the flower. Some folk smash the stem, others peel them. Some soak the flowers in cold water, others stick the stem in hot water. I use a slightly different procedure.

Hydrangea flowers should never be cut in midday when the plant may be under stress. Cutting in the morning is best and evenings or cloudy days are good as well. Cut stems should be placed immediately in water so have some with you in the garden. Removing all but the top three or four leaves on the stem will help increase flower life.

I place my vase of cut flower stems in the cool and dark of the basement for 12 to 24 hours. This is called conditioning. The cut flower stems adjust from being on a living plant to being in a vase of water. After there adjustment period they are ready to be rearranged and give me many days of enjoyment!