There are two steps for learning how to keep sunflowers fresh. If you know how to care for cut sunflowers, you can apply some similar techniques. Remember that sunflowers’ proper care will allow you to enjoy them for up to 15 days after cutting.
Sunflowers can grow similar to the full season crops you have in the garden or greenhouse. Therefore, they are available year-round, and knowing how to keep sunflowers fresh will put you at an advantage, florist or not. Perhaps the main takeaway to remember upon getting sunflowers is to place them in water immediately.
Comprehensive Guide On How To Keep Sunflowers Fresh
Step #1. Cut
Before anything else, you must sanitize the tools you’ll need to cut and keep the sunflowers. Remember that one of the most significant culprits that can wilt your sunflowers fast is dirty or infected shears and vases. You can create a sanitizing solution using bleach and water and let the items air dry.
When is the best time to cut sunflowers? Timing also plays a role in the longevity of your flowers. You want to check your sunflowers and cut them right before the petals open entirely.
Depending on your location, sunflowers bloom in late summer, so you want to cut right before this time. You can also grow sunflowers in the greenhouse to make timing easier to catch. Either way, collect the sunflowers early in the morning, right after the petals dry down.
Cutting in the afternoon will put the flowers at risk of wilting due to the warm temperature.
Speaking of wilting, you want to ensure that the ground they are in is moist, so water them thoroughly on the night before picking them. Otherwise, you will collect flowers that will wilt quickly since they haven’t soaked up enough water from the ground. Choosing early in the morning when their dew has dried down will ensure fresh sunflowers for keeping.
Step #2. Place in water
The next step for keeping sunflowers fresh is merely placing them in water. However, it’s worth emphasizing that not all sunflowers make excellent cut flowers. Cornell University recommends varieties that don’t produce pollen to avoid staining.
Upon getting the flowers, you want to place them in a bucket with warm tap water around 100 to 110°F to prevent wilting. This way, you can immediately hydrate them and avoid the danger of shock after cutting. However, be aware that you want to cut each stem at a 45-degree angle to make soaking easier.
You can bring the conditioned sunflowers indoors or in the greenhouse to protect them from the outdoor conditions. Remember that direct sunlight can dry and damage the cut sunflowers.
Caring in the vase
How to transfer cut sunflowers into a vase? You can mix cool water and preservatives and add them to a vase. However, remember to follow the mixing instructions diligently because overdosing can damage the sunflowers, and underdosing would be ineffective in preserving them. The solution should provide energy, help with hydration, balance the water’s pH level, and prevent microbial growth that can cause stem clogs.
Once again, you also want to cut an inch at an angle on each stem’s bottom to help with absorption. Cut them while still being in the water using a sharp knife and remove all the leaves at the bottom portion of the stems. This way, no leaf will get wet and encourage diseases.
Maintaining sunflowers in a vase will be as easy as replacing the water mixture every two days. Still, some gardeners use the solution for several hours only and use plain water instead. Either way, you want to prevent bacteria’s growth, so changing the water daily would also be optimal.
You can also recut the stems and place the vase somewhere out of drafts or direct sunlight.
How To Harvest Sunflower Seeds
If you harvest sunflowers and you want to get the seeds, the process is relatively simple. You just let the flowers dry, so the seeds become loose and easy to remove. Then, cut the head off and lie it on a flat surface.
You can catch the seeds with a bowl and pull them off the plant. To make the removal more comfortable, you can rub the head with your hand or any material with a corrugated surface. Another effortless way to harvest is by hanging the sunflower heads upside down as they dry.
After collecting the seeds, rinse and drain them well before placing in paper towels and newspaper. Let them dry at room temperature to prevent mold growth and check back on them the following day. You can put them in a paper envelope before sealing it in a plastic container.
Store the seeds somewhere cool and dry, and they should be ready to germinate for the next season.
Sunflowers effortlessly make any area livelier. Don’t we all want to know how to keep sunflowers fresh? You can always grow the sunflowers in the greenhouse, but you should also keep them fresh in a vase if you have cut ones.
Simply time your cutting in the morning and immediately soak your sunflowers. Afterward, prepare a solution of cool water and preservatives for the vase. Change this mix daily to slow down the growth of bacteria and keep your sunflowers fresh.