Here’s what lilies and amaryllis have in common: they both have stamens that sprinkle magical orange dust (a.k.a. pollen) everywhere. What makes it magical? It’s next to impossible to remove that stain once it’s smeared. Because amaryllis and lilies are so beautiful, we don’t want to do without them in our arrangements, but what to do about this problem?
To protect our customers from staining their clothing, we remove the stamens from all of the open blossoms on our lilies and amaryllis. We even clean up any dust that’s left behind on the petals. But for those blossoms that are still closed when the flowers go out the door, there’s not much we can do.
So, here’s a little florist’s secret: remove any lily dust that’s on the flowers or on the surface of clothing or upholstery with…a pipe cleaner!
Here’s how you do it:
1. First things first, you’ve got to take off the stamens. Ideally, you’ll remove them before they mature and burst–in the early stages they’re a pale brown, and the orange pollen is stored inside. Even once the stamens are removed, look at the lily or amaryllis petals to be sure there’s no dust. If you closely observe this flower, you can see there are little orange granules–and it’s worth the effort to get rid of them because if your clothes brush up against them, or your cat tips over the vase and the flowers land on the sofa or carpet, you’ll have to deal with the stain.
2. Bend a pipe cleaner in half and twist it. Using the rounded edge, carefully rub the entire surface of the flower to remove all the dust. One pipe cleaner can be used for all the flowers in the arrangement–no need to use a different one for each flower. Also, by lightly running a pipe cleaner over your clothing (if the dust is on the surface and not smudged), you can remove most if not all of the pollen. Presto–your favorite blouse or dress will be saved! Trust me–you want to do this because rubbing the pollen in with soap and water will just release the magical staining powers into your clothes. Been there, done that.