How to Make Cut Flowers Last Longer (Tips and Tricks)

Sharing some of the best practices to help cut flowers last longer. These simple tips and tricks will help extend the life of your flowers so you can enjoy them longer.

a bouquet of fresh cut flowers

Bringing cut flowers of any kind into the home is such a joy for me. There is nothing like a vase of fresh flowers in any room but I always find them especially pleasing when sitting on my kitchen counter. Most would likely say the best place for them might be the dining table and in a perfect world I would always have two bundles for each area as I can never have too many.

Its amazing how a simple bouquet can brighten up any space they are placed in and provide a great finishing touch to a cleaning day. I love to have them anywhere I can. Often stretching out a grocery store bouquet to make smaller bundles to place in the bathrooms, bedside tables, and our living room table tray.

flowers in a vase on a table

 If I find a sale, you can bet I will be stocking up and having arrangements for all of our sitting areas. During the summer months, we have an abundance of flowers all over the garden that I began growing specifically for cut flower arrangements. 

The only downside to fresh flowers is that most of them just don’t last long. Even the freshest cut flowers can wilt overnight. The good news is, my love of flowers has led me down a path of trial and error that has helped me find some of the best tricks to use. These work for any vase of flowers I have, even the ones made up of the most delicate flowers in my garden.

These simple but effective rules have helped me extend the enjoyment of each bundle that makes its way into our home. I hope you find them just as helpful in extending the life of your cut flowers. 

Flower Care Tips

Start with a Clean Vase

  • Check the bottom of the vase for any leftover debris where the growth of bacteria often starts. 
  • Use a mild detergent to wash the vase and rinse with fresh clean water. This will prevent bacterial growth or contamination from previous bouquets.
  • Allow it to air dry as you prepare the flowers.

Cut the stems

  • Use clean, sharp scissors, floral shears or a sharp knife.
  • Cut the stems at a 45-degree angle. This is thought to help the stems absorb more water.
  • Trim away lower leaves to prevent mold. Leaves should never fall under the water line.

Change the water

  • Change the water every couple of days.
  • Use fresh water set on the cold water setting or room temperature water (never hot water).
  • Make sure the water line in the vase is higher than all the flower stems to ensure each flower has access to the water.

Add flower preservative (recipes below)

  • Follow the instructions carefully.
  • Use the recommended amount of preservative.

Keep away from heat

  • Move the flowers away from heat sources.
  • Avoid placing flowers near radiators or air conditioners.
  • Avoid sunny windows with direct sunlight if possible.
  • If possible, place them in a cool place.

Heat and Moisture Loss

When flowers dry out, they begin to fall apart and droop. To further ensure the longevity of your bouquet, it is important to keep them away from direct sunlight. Sunlight can cause flowers to wilt faster and lose their color and vibrancy. Also, be sure to keep your fresh blooms away from air vents, which can cause them to dry out quickly. Lastly, if you can, try to mist the flowers with a spray bottle and monitor the moisture levels. This will help to keep them looking fresh and vibrant for longer.

fresh cut flowers in vases

How To Make Your Own Flower Preservative

Every so often I grab a bouquet of fresh flowers that do not come with a packet of flower food and of course, I don’t have one for any homegrown flowers I cut. But did you know you can actually make a preservative to extend the life of your blooms?  A flower preservative sounds tricky but honestly, it is as simple as whipping up a batch of homemade cleaner and is the best way to preserve them longer. 

You just need a few things to get started. One thing to note is that a flower preservative needs 3 basic things, an acid, a fungal inhibitor, and sugar. The recipes below are proven flower preservatives that have all 3 you will need. All of which are commonly found items around the house. 

Floral Preservative Recipe#1

  • 1-quart water
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon household bleach

Floral Preservative Recipe #2

  • 1- quart of water
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon bleach

Directions: Add all of the ingredients to the water. Mix the solution well. Then use the mixture to fill your vase or dish arrangements that contain floral foam. It is best to make the solution as needed, as storing it causes the bleach to lose its potency.

Longest Lasting Cut Flowers

You might be wondering which flowers will last longest as the life span for varieties varies drastically. While all good things must come to an end, why not start by selecting varieties that will stick around longer, straight out the gate? Here is a list of some of the longest-lasting cut flowers to get more bang for your buck.

  • Zinnias
  • Chrysanthemums
  • Orchids
  • Carnations
  • Gerbera Daisies
  • Alliums
  • Lillie’s
  • Alstroemerias
  • Delphiniums
  • Freesias
woman arranging cut flowers in vases

Growing Your Own Flowers

One of the most rewarding things to do when it comes to any form of gardening is to grow your own cut flower garden. Don’t be thrown off by the term garden, either. I assure you that you don’t need much space to grow your flowers, and there are a ton of varieties that take very little effort to yield results. Check out these 5 Cut Flowers To Grow for a cut flower garden. Most can be grown straight from seed or bulb, and many will keep your vases filled all summer long.

Imagine stepping out your back door, floral shears in hand, able to snip blooms to bring inside anytime you like. If you are new to arranging and creating flower bouquets, this article, 8 Simple Steps to Arrange Flowers Like a Pro from Better Homes and Gardens, is helpful.

Ideas For Using Spent Cut Flowers

Don’t toss those blooms in the trash just yet! If you enjoy doing fun little DIY projects you can opt to make a homemade flower potpourri. It creates a pretty display and a nice natural scent for the areas you place it in. Or if you enjoy an old-world look in your home. Tie the bouquet together with a piece of twine and hang them from a nail in your kitchen. It adds instant charm without spending a dime.

To Sum It Up

  • Prolonging the life of cut flowers is possible with the right care and maintenance
  • Keep the vase clean, cut the stems at an angle
  • Change the water regularly
  • Add flower preservative to maintain the freshness
  • Additionally, make sure to keep the flowers away from direct heat sources
  • Choose flowers that last longer
  • Enjoy your cut flowers longer by hanging them to dry or making a homemade flower potpourri.

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