Once cut, sunflowers need to be maintained to ensure longevity. Here are a few tips on how to keep them looking happy and healthy.
When to cut sunflowers
The morning you plan to cut your flowers, fill a clean bucket half full of warm water, between 100 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Using a clean, sharp knife or garden shears, cut sunflowers in the morning before 10 a.m. but after the dew dries. Cut the stems approximately 30 inches long, and place them immediately in the bucket of water. Keep the bucket in the shade, if possible, while you cut your flowers.
Condition the flowers
Bring the bucket of cut sunflowers inside. For optimal results, prepare another bucket of water with holding preservative. To make a holding solution, use a floral preservative containing sucrose for energy, an acidifying agent to balance the pH level and aid hydration and an antimicrobial agent, to prevent stem clogs from bacterial growth. Mix the solution according to the manufacturer’s instructions, as underdosing flowers results in little or no increase in vase life, and overdosing causes damage to flowers.
Remove any leaves from the lower portion of the stems and recut the sunflower stems under water, making an angled cut with a sharp knife. Place the stems immediately in the fresh solution. Place the bucket of flowers in a cool location for at least one hour and up to several hours before arranging flowers in a vase.
Arrange the Sunflowers
Fill a vase or other clean container one-half full of the same type of holding solution used during the conditioning period. Arrange sunflowers, making certain no leaves will be below the water line after the vase is filled with water. After the flowers are arranged, finish filling the vase with holding solution.
Keep sunflowers fresh
Keep your sunflowers fresh longer by recutting stems and putting them in fresh holding solution every two days. Cut the stems under water to prevent air bubbles from entering the stem’s vascular system. Keep the stems in water while you empty the vase, clean it and add fresh holding solution. Return the flowers to the vase and finish filling the vase with holding solution. Keep flowers out of direct sunlight and away from drafts, which can dehydrate the sunflowers and cause them to wilt.