It is well known flowers are at their best on show in the garden, but when cut and placed in vases; their show fades with dropping petals or wilting stems. For flowers that drop their petals the best remedy is to sweep them up as they fall, flowers such as Larkspur is an example whose petals drop rapidly. In many other cases a few simple precautions taken when picking the flowers will help prolong the life of the average cut flower.
Shrubs and hard-wooded plants, such as roses, and lilacs, should have one to two inches of their stems smashed by a hammer so that the water may be sucked up through the stems to help preserve the blooms longer. Another method of skinning the stems of their bark is useful but not as good as smashing the stems.
Flowers such as Dahlia, Poppy, and others, have sap which evaporates fast when cut, they will remain fresh if the stems are singed with a candle flame for a few minutes after cutting. If this hint is followed, it is known that poppies, if picked in the bud, will open and remain in blood for three or four days.
A lesser known fact about cut flowers is that yellow and white flowers last a lot longer in water than those which are red.
Some more hints from the 1939 to make cut flowers last longer:
When cutting, be sure to use a special cutting shears, or a sharp knife, and cut at a slant to get the largest absorbing areas. This also prevents the stem from lying flat on the base of the bowl, blocking absorption.
Stand cut flowers in a bucket of water, right to the flower heads, in a cool, draught-free room. Never leave the foliage in the water when arranged, as they decay and will pollute the water.
Cut winter flowers:
Anemones - Add half cup vinegar to two cups of water.
Aquilegias - Five drops of peppermint oil to one pint of water.
Carnations - Cool water up to the flower heads. Do not submerge blossoms.
Daffodils - All like small quantities of water. Arrange in no more than one inch of water.
Delphiniums - One tablespoon alcohol to one pint of water.
Violets and Violas - Bunch. Submerge for two hours after picking, then place in container filled with iced water.
Tulips - Roll in wet newspaper to keep the stems straight. Place in cold water up to flower heads.
Forget-me-nots - Plunge into hot then cold water - add eight drops for alcohol to one pine of water.
Sweet Peas - As for forget-me-nots.
Gypsophila - One teaspoon of alcohol to one pint of water.
Iris - Three drops of peppermint oil to one quart of water.
Larkspur - One tablespoon alcohol to one pint of water.
Poinsettias - Burn ends of stems - one handful of rock salt to two quarts of water.
Lilies - One cup of vinegar to two quarts of water.
Hyacinths - Squeeze substance from end of stems immediately after picking. Plunge into very cold water.
Lilacs - Never pull the green leaf off near the flower head, as it is the water-conductor to the bloom.
I hope everyone is having a good day or evening where ever you are.