Cut peonies should last about a week indoors. When the buds are tight, snip the stems. If you wrap the flowers in newspaper, they will keep for a short time if you want to arrange them later. Refrigerate the peonies on their sides after closing the newspaper with rubber bands on each end.
‘Tiki Torch’ Coneflower (Echinacea ‘Tiki Torch’)
The world of purple coneflower has expanded to embrace a host of new colors, like the flaming orange of ‘Tiki Torch’. The spicy scent of this coneflower pervades the garden. Flowers are a great addition to garden bouquets and attract a lot of butterflies. Zones 4–10 are suitable.
Ranunculus, with their crepe paper-like blooms, can be kept in vases for a week or more. Cut the stems at the base, just above the plant’s crown, and immediately immerse them in water.
For the longest-lasting blooms, cut alliums early in the day, when only half of the florets are open. Some alliums ooze a clear fluid that turns red and may stain, so handle the cut stems with care.
With their trumpet-shaped blooms, showy lilies make elegant arrangements. When the flower colour is just starting to show, cut the stems just before the buds open.
Calla Lilies ‘Ruby Sensation’ and ‘Natural Bouquet’
Calla lily stems cut at a 45-degree angle and kept in water mixed with floral preservatives have a vase life of 5 to 7 days. Every 2 or 3 days, re-cut the stems and refresh the water and preservatives. The blooms bruise easily, so handle them with care.
Gladiolus as Cut Flowers
Cut tall, elegant gladiolus when a few buds are only half open for the longest-lasting arrangements. The stems should then be placed in warm water in a cool, dark location for a few hours before being placed in water containing a floral preservative. Use fluoride-free water for the best results; glads is sensitive to this chemical.
Perennial mums, which resemble cheerful daisies, come in a variety of colors. Cut the blooms just before they fully open with sharp tools, and soak the stems in warm water to help them last for days.
Citrus-scented freesias can last for up to 12 days after being cut (they may not last as long in your vase if you purchased already-cut flowers, instead of bringing them in from your garden). Give them water that is at room temperature.
Alstroemeria comes in a variety of colors. Because cut flowers absorb a lot of water, you should refill your vase frequently. Remove faded blooms from stems to extend the life of your arrangement to up to two weeks.
After being cut, carnations have a long shelf life. This arrangement, made with calla lilies, green button mums, and roses, should last two weeks.
Dahlias are among the longest-lasting cut flowers. The buds will not open after being cut, so wait until they are nearly or fully open before snipping. After that, re-cut the stems and soak them in 2 inches of hot water for an hour. Remove them from the vase, removing any leaves that will be below the water line, and place them in a vase of fresh, cool water.
Zinnias are a traditional cut flower. If you place the stems in a bucket of cold water as soon as you cut them in the garden, the blooms will last for days. Then bring them inside and re-cut them at a 45-degree angle underwater before placing them in a vase filled with water and floral preservative.
Learn more: The Perfect Flowers for Your Winter Wedding