It pays to buy the best cutting flowers available. Spend time when purchasing the flowers, making sure that the flowers will look good for a long time. The flower course will provide you with more detailed information than what is found on this flower website.

Only purchase cutting flowers that is half open or in bud.  If flowers are picked when they are tightly in bud, some of them might never open. It is important that the florist should check if the colour of the petals is starting to show.  This is especially true of flowers such as Tulips, Roses, Daffodils and Irises.

If you are using cutting flowers from your own garden such as cornflowers, cut when the cornflowers are fully open and show no fading on the outer flower petals. Dill, which is a herb, must be cut when all the flowers are fully open.  Make sure that you use only specimens that do not drop off when you lightly shake the stem.

Sweet pea should be cut when the lowest flower on the flower stem has just opened.  Gladiolus should be cut when the lowest flower has just started to open and the next little is showing their colour. The upper flowers should have tight green buds.

Lilies are best cut when in bud, but showing their true colour. Buds that are too tight when cut, will not open.   Roses can be cut when the buds just start to open. When using poppy, cut when the buds are still unrolling and make sure to seal the stem ends by passing over a naked flame for a second or two.  Crysanthemum is best cut when most of the flowers have opened and only a few buds remain.

Do make sure that flowers such as carnations, sweet William and baby’s breath are cut above the joint to ensure adequate water intake. Daffodils ooze a slimy sap when it is cut.  This sap should be removed before putting them in water. Tulips and roses should be supported by a tube made of paper to straighten the stems.

Make sure that the end of flower stems are cut immediately after receiving it from the market.  Some flowers such as Chrysanthemums will last longer if the stems below the water line are scraped with a sharp knife and the end of the flower stem broken off rather than cut off.

The flowers should now be placed in clean buckets or containers. Make sure that the containers are sterilized by cleaning it with bleach.  Then make sure that you rinse the buckets properly so that no chemical or soap residue remains in the containers.  Now make sure that the containers or flower buckets contain fresh water, up to three quarters of the stem length.

Keep in mind that flowers must be kept in a cool area where there are no draughts. This will prolong the life of unarranged flowers and completed flower arrangements.  Remember if the container that the flowers are kept in is too small it will not hold enough water. 

In very hot weather, especially in the warm and dryer areas of South Africa, Oasis can dry out quickly. Do spray the flowers and flower arrangements regularly with a fine mist of water.  The water spray will create a humid atmosphere around the flowers and the flower arrangement will keep longer. Do remember to never allow the foliage of the flowers to be submerged in the water.