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Baltimore Sun Sunday - - GARDEN -

Give stems a nice flat cut if the flow­ers are go­ing into a vase where the stems will be rest­ing against the bot­tom, Dole said. “If you’re plac­ing stems into a foam, a pointed cut will be bet­ter.”

Re­move any leaves be­low the wa­ter line. “They’ll de­com­pose and either get sucked up into the stems or stim­u­late bac­te­ria growth,” Dole said.

Choose flow­ers that are well col­ored and not fully open. That will add a few days to their vase life, Dole said.

Ethy­lene gas, pro­duced by fresh fruits and veg­eta­bles, is a nat­u­rally oc­cur­ring ripen­ing agent that can dras­ti­cally shorten the life of many cut flow­ers. “Put your fruit in the kitchen and keep the flow­ers in the din­ing room,” Ziegler said.

Lo­ca­tion is im­por­tant. “The cooler the area the bet­ter,” Ziegler said. “Cut flow­ers last longer if kept out of di­rect sun­light. Re­frig­er­at­ing them overnight is good, but it doesn’t work for all flow­ers. Dahlias love it; zin­nias will turn black.”

DEAN FOSDICK/AP PHO­TOS

These cut flow­ers are not fully open, which should add a few days to their vase life.

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