Drying Cut Flowers
Dye your cut flowers to match your decor or your clothing!
To change white carnation-type petals to green, stand the long-stemmed flowers in water containing a green aniline dye. Other suitable aniline dyes may be used to achieve colored stripes on white flowers.
Place flowers over a basin of water which contains a very small amount of ammonia in a bell glass. The petals will usually change. For example, many violet-colored petals will change to green; red colors will become green, white will turn yellow and dark carmine will turn black. Violet-colored asters can be moistened with a very mild solution of nitric acid. The ray florets will turn red and will also acquire a pleasant scent.
Keep 'em fresh longer:
A good method of prolonging the life of cut flowers is to put a small amount of ammonium chloride, postassium nitrate, sodium carbonate or camphor in the water into which the flower stems are inserted. One or more of these drugs will keep the flowers fresh by working to oppose germ growth and stimulate the cells.
Excellent as Cut Flowers:
Agapanthus (lily of the Nile), tall blue or white flower clusters.
Allium, particularly the tall purple puff-ball flowers of A. giganteum and A. aflatunense.
Brodiaea, grasslike foliage with blue flower clusters atop slender stalks.
Crocosmia, tall golden yellow to brilliant orange-scarlet blossoms.
Dahlias, a multitude of shapes and colors, all magnificent performers (in the garden, the more you cut, the more they bloom, especially the Cactus/Decoratives and Pompoms).
Eremurus, spectacular towering spikes of flowers in white to pink to yellow or orange. Can last up to three weeks when cut.
Ixiolirion, delicate lavender flowers atop spindly stems.
Lycoris, yellow or rosy spidery flower.
Nerine, stylish, rose-pink spidery flower.
Ranunculus (Persian buttercup) 2-5 inch flowers packed with petals, in every color except blue or green.
Sparaxis (harlequin flower) variously colored with yellow and black throat, sword-like foliage.
One of the newest novelty cut flowers is a species of Lobelia, a very striking spike flower of vivid red or purple on a two-foot stem.
Available in summer, the brilliant color and form of this flower adds perceived value to an arrangement with the tall spike extending the height of a design.
Lobelia works best in arrangements where the top of the spike, with new flowers continually opening, is the focal point and the bottom, where old flowers are dying, is concealed. The flower requires careful handling to avoid damage.