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At the right is an arrangement of waterlilies that we made to experiment with opening and closing of the flowers in the house. By Day 3 all still opened but were wilted. We had no sugar or Stafresh in the water.

Waterlilies As Cut Flowers

By Kit Knotts - Click images to enlarge

Waterlilies make wonderful cut flowers, either as part of arrangements or on their own! Select first day flowers for cutting and you can expect them to last three to five days, depending on the varieties selected. Those with short stems can be floated in bowls for a lovely effect. Long stemmed flowers can be kept erect with floral wire. The life of cut flowers, including waterlilies, can be extended using using a mild solution of sugar and water or products made especially for the purpose such as Stafresh.

Unless "helped" with several methods described below, the flowers will open and close as they would if still on the plants. Both day and night bloomers will follow their usual schedule.

Dr. G.L. Thomas, Jr., in his book Garden Pools, Water-Lilies and Goldfish (1958. D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc. p. 128), wrote:

"There are two sure ways of keeping blooms open. You can place stems in a vase of ice water, and store them in the refrigerator until time to use them as decorations. You will find that they will then remain open for a few hours. Or you can let the blooms unfold to their fullest before cutting them, and then put a drop of melted paraffin or wax from a lighted candle at the point where stamens, petals, and sepals join. Hardening the paraffin or wax forms an unseen but sturdy cast which holds blooms open. Either procedure keeps flowers at their loveliest for three or four days, with no loss of luster or fragrance. A word of caution: Water-lilies set out in this way as decoration bear up well under heat and even a bit of handling, but a strong, sustained draft of cold air will kill them. So don't set them directly in front of an air-conditioning unit."

We have experimented with both methods and find the wax method messy and not particularly effective but others, perhaps more adept, find it successful. The frig method works pretty well, better with some varieties than others.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Tropical day bloomer 'Director George T. Moore' and hardy 'Clyde Ikins' after three hours in the refrigerator and two hours at room temperature. They then closed and didn't reopen.

Tropical night bloomer N. lotus, after several hours in the refrigerator, stayed open most of the afternoon before closing. It opened the following day but wilted.
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