Lilacs are notorious for wilting when cut for arrangements. Lynn Byczynski, editor of the Growing for Market Newsletter and author of The Flower Farmer, gave us some tips on extending the vase life of these beautiful blooms:
1. Cut when the flowers on a lilac panicle (the entire cluster of flowers) are one-quarter to one-half open.
2. Use your pruners to split the stem a couple of inches up the center. Crushing the stem with a hammer is an old wives' tale. It doesn't help the lilac take up water.
3. Don't put the flowers in a vase immediately. Instead, remove all the foliage and put them in cool water right up to the neck of the flower. Let them rest and begin taking up water for a few hours or overnight before using in arrangements.
4. When arranging, use a fairly deep vase or container filled with cool water. Keep the flowers out of direct sunlight. Even with care, lilacs are a short-lived cut flower—five days at most, says Lynn. So enjoy all that beauty while you can!