Narcissus (aka Daffodils) are underrated flowers. They require almost no care. They reliably come back year after year and naturalize producing more bulbs. Instead of cutting stems, you can simply reach down to the bottom of the stem and pull. The stem will snap off from the bulb and leaves will remain. There is one warning with Narcissus. Do not add them to arrangements with other flowers without conditioning the stems first. Narcissus stems produce a sap that is toxic to other flowers. You may notice the sap can also be a skin irritant. Wash your hands after harvesting or wear gloves. If you want to use Narcissus with other flowers such as tulips place them in water alone for several hours first. Then do not re-cut the stems when adding to your arrangement or bouquet.
People are astonished when I tell them cut flower tulips are grown as annuals. Tulips are harvested when the bud is first colored. When harvesting tulips for cut flowers I pull out the whole bulb. The stems get wrapped up and stored upright in a refrigerator. (I hope to have a walk-in cooler in the next couple years.) The bulb provides all the needed energy while in storage. When ready to use the bulb is snipped off, the stems are re-wrapped, and placed in water. Wrapping or putting the stems in a deep container keeps the stems straight as the flowers re-hydrate.
Lilacs have a notoriously short vase life reputation among home gardeners. Like many woody plants they can be difficult to hydrate.
Lily of the Valley
This is a shade garden staple here in the Midwest. While tiny, the blooms are beautiful and fragrant. Anyone who has tried to snip one at a time to enjoy indoors knows how tedious it is. Turns out that in the cut flower industry they are shipped roots and all. The flowers hold up during shipment this way but it is also far easier to harvest them by digging than by cutting one at a time. Since they spread easily in the garden, digging up the areas around a bed of Lily of the Valley can be a great way to keep them in check.
Did you know you can store peonies for a month? The key is harvesting when the bud feels like a fluffy marshmallow but hasn’t really opened. Wrap the harvested stems in damp newspaper and place in a refrigerator. Peonies have a short bloom season, so this can be a great way to save a few to use later.
Hopefully, this allows you to enjoy your spring blooms a little longer.