Why should you (re-)cut the stems?
There are 3 main reasons for cutting the stem:
- After the grower has cut the flower from its mother plant or the roots, the stem wound immediately begins to heal itself, much like a wound on our skin. The cut off flower stem protects itself against infections and drying out through the cutting wound by sealing it. This means that when cut flowers are put into a container or vase solution, the water absorption is greatly decreased or even completely stopped, resulting a premature demise of the entire flower.
- Wounds on the stem bark are an excellent food source for micro-organisms. Micro-organisms only grow if they have something to feed on in the container or vase. Large amounts can cause loss of quality in some cut flowers, because they can partially plug the bottom of the stem. This is one of the main reasons to cut off a piece of the stem after a ‘dry’ period and it also prevents contamination of the container or vase.
- Contaminated and organic materials plug up the cut surface, just like air bubbles in a dried out stem-end. This also causes the premature wilting of the cut flowers. By cutting the bottom of the stem (by at least 2-5 cm) these blockages are removed.
If cut flowers have been dry for more than 30 minutes e.g. on their journey from wholesaler to shop, or shop to home, or simply the vase has become empty, cut off 2-5cm before placing them in a container or vase. This applies to all phases of the flower’s life. Working in a clean environment, removing contamination and avoiding stem damage all help to prevent waste, save money and ensure normal flower development as well as a satisfied customer!