• Roses: Make cuts above a set of five leaves.
• Shrubs: Cut flowers that grow in clusters, such as lilac and mock orange, before all buds have opened.
• Trees: Clip branches when buds start to fatten, making cuts just above a growth bud (take care not to disfigure your tree).
• Vines: Snip flowering stems of polyanthus jasmine, and remove the lowest leaves and blooms.
Caring. As you cut, plunge all branches or stems immediately in a bucket of lukewarm water. Before arranging woody ones (including flowering plum, lilac, and magnolia), remove the lower leaves, recut the stem ends at a slant, and make a 1- to 2-inch slit through the bottom of each stem.
Preserving. Fill a vase with lukewarm water, then add a floral preservative before inserting cuttings. Keep arrangements out of direct sunlight, and change the water and recut stem ends as needed.