By Carol Stocker, Globe Garden Writer....Here's some tips on how to get the longest life out of cut flowers over the holidays (or any time):
Recut a half inch off stems under water or under a running tap before putting them in a vase.
Remove any foliage that would be under water.
With woodies like lilacs, slice a half inch up the middle of the stem from the end while cutting the end. So two cuts
Put the flowers in lukewarm water that is as deep as possible. You don't want just an inch of water at the bottom of the vase. Fill the vase to the top.
Put vase of lukewarm water in a cool dark place for a couple of hours after arranging in order to condition it.
One or two drops of bleach will cut down on bacteria. Or you could use a packet of flower preservative which is often attached to bouquets at point of purchase.
Replace water and recut stems under water a couple of times a week.
Remove any spent flowers promptly so they do not detract from the flowers in the vase that are still good.