10 Ways To Pick Flowers Without Damaging The Plant

Tom Gaffey
by Tom Gaffey
Credit: Shutterstock / Chepko Danil Vitalevich

Picking flowers is a whimsical and romantic act. It is also a great way to bring amazing flower arrangements inside your home for free. If you snip flowers off a plant properly, you can even stimulate more flowers to bloom from the same plant. The key is to take all the right steps to ensure that when you pick flowers, you are not causing any unnecessary damage to the plant.

Cut flowers first thing in the morning when plants are healthiest, and cut flowers that are starting to bloom. Use scissors or clippers to make sharp precise cuts, and clean them thoroughly before use. Remember to cut the stem near the leaf or the closest joint, and cut at a 45-degree angle. Don’t cut too much off one plant, as this can cause the plant stress and shock.

If you have a garden with flowers that are starting to bloom, make sure you read the rest of this article before you start removing blossoms. There are several dos and don’ts when it comes to picking flowers from a plant. The good news is that if you follow the tips below, you have blooms that will last a long time in your flower arrangement and keep your plant healthy and free of harm.

10 Ways To To Pick Flowers Without Harming The Plant

1. Cut Flowers First Thing In the Morning

One way to ensure you pick healthy flowers without hurting the plant you are trimming from is to choose the right time of day. Try to pick flowers in the early morning, but before you water the garden for the day. This is when plants are fully hydrated, and the weather is typically cooler. Plants are strong, healthy, and happy at this time. Therefore, taking a few stems won’t hurt them as much at all.

Don’t let the time of day you go into your garden to pick flowers be an afterthought; make it a point to pick them in the morning. If the morning is not an option, then dusk also works well. Just make sure you aren’t picking flowers during the hottest and sunniest hours of the day, as this will put undue stress on the plant.

2. Pick Flowers That Are Starting To Bloom

Make sure you choose the right flowers to pick. Don’t pick flowers that are not yet blooming, as this would be a waste. You also don’t want to pick fully bloomed flowers, as these won’t last nearly as long.

Instead, opt for blooms that have bloomed only partially. They will continue to bloom over the next few days and will last longer. If you pick flowers too late, you will end up having to pick flowers off a plant more often, which will cause the plant stress.

3. Use Sharp And Easy-To-Handle Garden Sheers

Another important thing to remember when picking flowers from your garden is that you don’t want to 'pick' them. Instead, you want to snip or cut them. Picking involves pulling, while snipping involves a sharp and precise cut.

Use a sharp tool like garden sheers, clippers, or even a sharp knife. The key is to use a sharp tool, so keep whatever tool you use extra sharp. A clean cut causes less harm to a plant and is less likely to cause bacteria or pests to enter.

4. Cut The Stem At A 45-Degree Angle

Try to cut the stem at an angle, ideally about 45 degrees. This allows moisture to fall out of the plant at a safe angle and will help the plant close up. It is also an ideal angle for the flowers you cut. A 45-degree angle helps your fresh flowers suck up lots of water, and helps keep your bouquet alive longer.

5. Cut And Snip, But Never Pull Or Yank

Remember when you are collecting flowers for a bouquet you must have some sort of tool to snip the stem. You never want to pull, twist, or yank at a flower. Pulling or 'picking' a flower can cause the roots to tear, and cause damage you might not see.

Pulling also won’t result in a clean cut. This opens the plant up to disease and bacteria. It will also take more time and energy for a plant to heal.

6. Cut Near A Major Joint Or When The Stem Joins Another Stem

Where you snip your stem is also something you should take time to consider. Always try to cut your stem far down, near a joint, or where the stem joins a larger stem. When you cut in these places, it is easier for the plant to start new growth, as new growth comes from the joints and 'intersections.'

If you cut too high on the plant, you will have a dead stem that will suck up energy from the plant. You will also have a shorter stem for your flower, which is hard to work with.

7. Clean Your Cutting Tools Before (And After) You Use Them

Remember that you not only need sharp cutting tools, but clean ones as well. Before you venture out into your garden to cut flowers, make sure to clean your clippers, or whatever tools you plan to use.

Clean tools won’t spread bacteria or disease. You should also clean your tools after use, in case they come in contact with any molds or a plant that can cause allergic reactions.

8. Research The Specifics Of A Plant Before You Remove Its Flowers

Remember that while this list applies to most flowers, especially those that grow on large plants and bushes, it does not apply to all. Some flowers, like lilies, hydrangeas, and peonies, are delicate and should be handled in special ways.

Make sure you are familiar with your flower, and how (and when) it likes to be snipped from its stem. This will ensure your specific plant is not under undue stress after you snip its flowers.

9. Don’t Take Too Much From One Plant At Once

When you are taking flowers from your garden, make sure you pay attention to which plants you are taking from, and how much. One common mistake is to take too many flowers from a single plant. In some cases, removing all the flowers won’t damage a plant.

In other instances, however, taking too much growth from a plant can place it into shock, and it can also make it hard for it to regrow. If you are also trimming off lots of leaves, you must remember the leaves are how a plant absorbs nutrients from the sun. Try to pick from several plants, not just one.

10. Only Take Flowers From Plants That Look Healthy

Lastly, when you go through your garden in the morning to pick the perfect flowers for a flower arrangement, make sure you take a look at the overall plant’s health first. Make sure the plant is perky, colorful, and strong. If you notice it is drooping, or some of its leaves are brown, you might want to give it some care and attention. Avoid taking flowers from any weak plants. Instead, only pick your flowers from plants that look healthy and resilient.

Summing Up How To Pick Flowers Without Damaging The Plant

Picking flowers from your garden is a great and cost-effective way to have stunning flower arrangements in your home throughout the year. It can also be a fun activity that can spawn more flowers and growth if you snip your plant properly. Try to pick flowers in the morning when plants are healthy and hydrated. Always use a sharp and clean cutting tool, and try to cut at a 45-degree angle near a joint.

Remember to never pull, twist, or yank a flower. This can cause damage to the plant, including hurting its roots and leaving it vulnerable to diseases. Only pick from plants that look healthy, and don’t take too much at once from a single plant.

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Tom Gaffey
Tom Gaffey

Tom Gaffey is an expert writer who currently resides in Washington D.C. Tom has a passion for real estate and home improvement writing, as well as travel and lifestyle writing. He lived the last twelve years in Hawaii where he worked closely with luxury resorts and event planners, mastering his knowledge of aesthetics and luxury products. This is where he found his passion for home improvement and a keen interest in DIY projects. Currently, Tom resides in Washington D.C, and also working on his debut fiction novel.

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