Daffodils and Tulips (Preparing your Flowers)

In the last article about “Preparing Your Flowers”, I talked about how most flowers do not require any special treatments, but the following are exceptions:


These exude a lot of sap when they are cut. If you were to arrange daffs straightaway, the sap would block the bases of the stems and prevent water absorption, and if you were including other flowers it could be toxic to them. The sap is poisonous to human if ingested and can cause severe skin irritation.

The best way to condition daffs is to put them into a bucket of water for 5-10 minutes and refill with fresh water. Repeat until the sap stops leaking from the stems, and they can then be arranged as normal.


Daffs look good arranged on their own but the addition of some zingy green young foliage can increase interest.


These flowers are unusual as they continue to grow once cut. This does mean that as they develop they tend to flop and sprawl. Tulips will remain upright and rigid for longer if you wrap them in paper. You can use newspaper around the stems, secured tightly with rubber bands of string. Then place the wrapped tulips in a bucket of water for a couple of hours. Some people suggest piercing a part of the tulip behind the flower with a pin to stop the stems growing. I prefer to give them a bit of a trim every few days to maintain the desired height. I also quite like the sprawling effect of tulips spreading out from the vase like a Dutch master’s painting.

Searing stems

Searing the stems of poppies, roses, euphorbias and dahlias in boiling water can prevent premature petal fall. Pick the flowers as normal, remove any unwanted foliage from the stems and then place the bottom few centimetres (inch) of stem in a jar of boiling water while protecting the flower from the steam.

Finally, you now are ready to make your own arrangement and send to sick friend or family in Monash Hospital Clayton.