Your stems are sleepy. When they arrive to you, through your letterbox, they want to be as excited to see you as you are them. But it’s been 24 hours since they were plucked from the field, so they’re just feeling a little dry and lacklustre. They need a drink! But before you plunge them in your vase, it’s vital that they can fully quench their thirst… and that’s where stem-cutting comes in.
It’s important to trim your stems, as it helps clear the way so they can guzzle up that water and get back to their old, energised selves. Cutting them, as soon as they arrive, is a really easy technique to ensure your arrangement lasts and lasts…
What happens if I don’t trim my stems?
First of all, it takes two-minutes to do, so really you have no excuse. But, if you need a little extra motivation know that if you don’t your flowers will wilt much quicker. Plus, it’s just a really nice way to get to know your flowers, mindfully selecting each stem can be a therapeutic little break away from the stresses and strains of the day.
What should I use?
Have you ever cut pizza using your kitchen scissors? (if you haven’t, you should… it’s a great life hack.) The point is, your kitchen scissors – even if they appear clean – are tainted with everything else you use them for. They could further block your flower stems. Plus, they’re often not sharp enough and you could end up hacking at hardier stems, causing damage.
Secateurs (we have Freddie’s favourite pair on sale in our shop) or a pair of specific floral scissors, like Higurashi scissors (handmade in Japan, and designed in collaboration with Niwaki) ensure the job is done correctly, cleanly and – most importantly – easily. There’s nothing soothing about hacking away at a stem with below par scissors.
How should I cut my stems?
With a quick, clean cut at an angle. This gives a bigger surface level for the water to travel up the stem. Flower ends can quickly become waterlogged and mushy in water, so you’ll need to re-cut every few days to stop them from drooping.
There’s a conspiracy theory (OK, conspiracy theory might be a step too far… but we do get cross at misinformation when it comes to flowers!) that if you smash the ends of tougher stems, think roses or foliage, it can help them last longer. This just isn’t true! In fact, smashing the stems will result in little bits of flower ending up in your water which, in turn, creates a bacterial breeding ground. Your flowers will drink all that muck up, instead of fresh, nourishing water, and decompose quicker.
How often should I cut my stems?
Trim your stems every three days, at the same time as you change your water and add in more flower food. This stops them getting gunky so they’ll last longer. Of course, that means that – over time – your stems get shorter and shorter. But then you can switch to smaller vases and dot flowers around the house, which almost makes you feel like you’ve got lots of smaller, brand new flower arrangements.
Freddie’s top tip for peonies…
They’re so pretty and extra special as they need a little more attention at stem trimming stage… we recommend dipping the flower heads in warm water. Why? It removes any sap that could prevent them from opening faster. After that, give their head a gentle tap on the table, so they open themselves up to you.