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Mayesh Floral Forum: Knives vs. Shears

Floral Forum: Knives vs. Shears


We’re back with the much anticipated first Mayesh Floral Forum topic! If you haven’t heard about our new series, be sure to check out our previous post to find out what this is all about and to learn a bit more about our awesome panel.

This is a question we’ve heard time and time again, and have learned that it is a somewhat ‘controversial’ topic. Every designer seems to have an opinion, and they’re stickin’ to it! We’ve become quite curious ourselves, so we asked our designers:

When it comes to cutting stems, knife or shears?




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The common theme here is the importance of protecting the stem & allowing maximum hydration to the flower. Most of these designers mentioned the risk of crushing the stem when using shears, which makes it much more difficult for the stems to drink the water. Some other reasons in the “pro knife” column…

Jodi: I can hold it and design at the same time (unlike shears that you pick up/put down)… Sometimes using shears/pruners/clippers is unavoidable when it comes to thick stems and cumbersome bunches… In a perfect world, always a knife, but we all know this world is far from perfect. We can at least endeavor to make it pretty! Here, here!




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As for the ladies on Team Shears, while they recognize the importance of preserving the stem and are aware of the knife users’ reasoning, they have their own opinions!

Rachael: If I used a knife, I’d for sure cut myself (me too, girl). I understand that they’re better for insuring an adequate amount of water gets to the bloom, but my blooms seem to be happy regardless. I do, however, always use a knife to trim leaves/thorns that fall below the water line.

Carla: I always have a pair of Ohana sheers in my hand and find that I can work faster using them over a knife. I do know that making sure you are using sharp clippers is important. You don’t want dull clippers that compress the stem as you are cutting as this can damage the stem’s ability to take in water and keep the bloom hydrated… I only use a knife for removing thorns on roses during processing.




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Veronica: Both! For flowers that have woody, hearty stems such as hydrangeas, roses, viburnum I tend to go for the knife and herbaceous stems my Japanese clippers.

Randi: It’s funny, when I first started out, I noticed other florists using knives so I assumed to be a “legit” florist, I needed to learn to use a knife. Later on, I realized that many other florists do not use knives, but since I taught myself to use it I had become faster at it than using shears. I have cut my fingers wit both shears and knives, so I don’t believe one is necessarily better than the other.

Cynthia: I don’t think it really matters which of the two you use. It really all has to do with preference and the task at hand. Nine times out of ten, I use a knife because I just move faster that way and my motions are more fluid, allowing me to focus on the flowers and the design a bit more. However, sometimes it’s just impractical for me to use a knife… Using a knife also requires a bit of practice.




It really comes down to your preference and whichever you are more comfortable with, however be aware of not damaging the stem and limiting the amount of water it’s able to take in. If you are going to use clippers, make sure they’re super sharp! Both Carla & Shawn mentioned Ohana clippers as some of the best. Shawn, though a fan of knives, recommends Ohana clippers because “they are sharp and produce a remarkably clean cut.”

So there you have it! You’ve heard the facts & opinions, now where do you stake your claim?

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