Once in a while you may give in to temptation and gather a bunch of wildflowers to bring home with you. They are not as difficult to keep alive as you may think, and, with the right care, you can have these mementos of a lovely morning outdoors, in your home, for some days to come. Harvest them early in the morning, when their stems are full of nutrients and their scent is strong. Place them in a jar of water, or damp newspaper, to keep them from drying out on the trip home.
Things You'll Need
Commercial flower preservative
Cut each stem underwater, making the new cut about 2 inches above the original one, and at a slant, with an X-Acto or other sharp knife. Sear the ends of any stems that are oozing milky sap with a quick application of flame.
Heat water to 110 degrees Fahrenheit and pour it into a clean vase. Place the flowers in the warm water, and set the vase in a cool place for several hours. The warmth stimulates the intake of fluid into the stems.
Add preservative to the water. Commercial preservative contains nutritional sugars, acids which help maintain proper pH levels, and inhibitors of mold, algae and bacteria which can block the flow of fluids through the stems.
Place the flowers in a cool area which is free of drafts and heat sources. At night, and when you are away, place the vase in the refrigerator. Maintain the original water level, and remove any leaves and other debris that may fall into the water.
Change the water and preservative mixture, and re-trim the ends of the flowers, every two days. Remove any stems that are soft, wilted or appear to be rotting.
Keep wildflowers away from apples, which release a gas that accelerates ripening of fruit and decay of plants.
Smell the flowers before you cut them; some wildflowers have unpleasant odors.
Keep daffodils out of wildflower mixes as they are toxic to some flowers.
Do not gather wildflowers without the permission of the landowner. Many parks and public lands prohibit the practice.
Avoid harvesting a lone specimen, or rare find, as it may be an endangered species.
- Washington State University Extension; Master Gardener Program; Flowers From a Friend; Jeanette Stehr-Green
- University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension; Extend the Life of Cut Flowers; Don Janssen; 2011
- Plan Tea; How to Preserve Fresh Cut Flowers -- Naturally; Marion Owen
- University of Minnesota Extension; Keeping Cut Flowers and Flowering Plants; Mary H. Meyer; 1998
- University of Texas at Austin; Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center; Wildflower Arrangements; Rose Lyn Scott; 2011