When it comes to caring for plant life, I pretty much wing it. Annnnnd it never works out.
One thing I thought I had down for sure was caring for cut stems. I often buy inexpensive bundles of flowers and put them in small jars all around the house. It's nice to enjoy flowers without the upkeep of potted plants. I even cut the stems carefully under water when I get them home (I think I saw that on a 1-800-flowers commercial when I was younger). I'm practically an expert!
However, after a few short days the water in my vases would often be murky and eventually it would get so gross I would end up throwing things out.
I'm fortunate to have a mother who gardens everyday and a mother-in-law who not only gardens, but also designs landscapes for a living. A couple of years ago my mother-in-law shared a little trick with me. She told me the reason the water in the vases containing my cut stems gets so brown and nasty has to do with the leaves and foliage left on the stems (oops).
When you bring your flowers home and cut the stems, you should also remove any leaves, etc. that will fall before the water line. Genius, right? If I'm the last to know this, don't tell me.
I still like to change out the water every few days, but they never rot out like the used to.
Happy flower arranging!