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What you need:
  • Sharp, clean pruning shears
  • Bleach
  • Clean vase
First and foremost, you need to thoroughly clean the vase you will be using. Scrub the inside of the vase with soap and hot water. If the vase is really dirty, you can use a little bleach when cleaning.
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Remove the flower from the plant, using a sharp knife or shears. Leave enough of a stem on the flower so that you can cut it down to the right size later. Any cuts that you make should be clean and at a 45 degree angle.
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Trim any lower leaves from the stem that will be below the water line. It's important to leave the foliage above the water line intact otherwise the stem will be unable to draw water.
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Make a second cut just prior to placing the flower in the vase. This cut should be made under water to avoid any air embolisms from forming.
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Place the flowers immediately in a vase full of warm water that has a few drops of bleach mixed in it. The bleach will keep any harmful bacteria in check. By following these steps, your flowers should remain fresh for a week or more.