I have been using a “ball” of chicken wire to support the stems in my Zinnia arrangements this summer.
A big roll of this stuff is great to have on hand in your supply closet.
I still love fresh floral foam to support stems, but the chicken wire is reusable, making it a thrifty choice!
Harvesting zinnias at the right stage is essential to getting a long vase life. Harvest too soon and the stems will bend and droop; wait too long and the blooms fade quickly. A really simple way to see if your zinnias are ready to harvest is by doing the “wiggle” test. Simply grab the stem about 8 inches below the flower and give it a gentle shake. If it’s immature, the stem will be soft and bend easily. If it is ready to harvest, the stem remains stiff and upright when you wiggle it. It’s time to cut! Cut deeply on the plant to get a long, strong stem. Remove the foliage and don’t be afraid to cut off side shoots on the main stem you just harvested. Zinnias are a “cut and come again” flower, so when you cut the plant “hard,” it responds by sending out even more long, strong stems all season long. (http://www.floretflowers.com)
Conditioning Zinnias is really simple and worth the effort.
There are several schools of thought on conditioning Zinnias.
This is the way I do it….
Place stems in boiling water for a few seconds. Condition overnight in tepid water. Zinnias last better if plants are watered before they are cut.
If you want to read more about conditioning different flowers, this link is great!
The Garden Club of Brookfield Connecticut