Suggestions on Conditioning Plant Material for use in Arrangements

The longevity of your arrangement may very well depend on when you cut and how you treat the flowers and branches before they are arranged. That perfect blossom, and there is usually only one of them, can become a disappointment when it quickly withers. This is especially frustrating during an exhibit, and I bet we have all been there! One of the lessons of Ikebana is learning the best way to condition the materials that we use. Below are some tips on how to treat several types of local, seasonal flowers that you may find just steps from your front door.

The first rule to cutting any material is to do it in the early morning or evening and place immediately into a bucket of water. Be sure to cut the ends of the stems again before placing in an arrangement. Keep the water in your arrangement clean, along with your bucket, container and hasami A good disinfectant is a solution of 1 part of chlorine bleach to 5 parts of water. One website also says that Lysol and Pine Sol oil work as well.

Dip stems briefly in boiling water, remove and place in cold water; or, dip the ends of the stems in alum. It can be found with the spices at the store.
Stems may also be placed in alum; or, dipped in hot water for several minutes.
The stems may be placed in cold water briefly and then put in deep water in a cool, dark place. The dark room reduces the rate of moisture loss. Roses benefit from flower food. Instead of purchasing it, google "Flower food for cut roses" to find easy easy home made recipes.
The ends of the stems should be split then placed in deep, warm water.
Stems should be immersed in vinegar for a few minutes. I also read that you may use a solution of vinegar-water. A third way is to plunge the stems into boiling water. This may be used for other grassy plants as well.

More plants will be added to this list as the season progresses.

Please share your successes and failures, or do you have a question about a particular plant? We can all learn from the experiences of our amazing, talented Sogetsu teachers and members.