How to Make Your Fresh Cut Flowers Last Longer

July 30, 2014

Flowers are so beautiful… until they begin to wilt, that is. It’s just so sad when you get a beautiful bouquet delivery and then, so quickly, it turns brown and withers away. The truth is, most of us aren’t sure how to properly care for flowers and they die much more quickly than they should.

Now it’s worth mentioning, that you may just wish to have your bouquet for a short time and don’t care if they last for weeks. If that’s the case, enjoy them while they last. However, if you are looking for a more “long term relationship” with your blooms, then you have come to the right place. Here are 10 ways that show you how to keep your fresh cut flowers longer.

1. Keep them cool

It’s so tempting to set a bouquet in a windowsill or near a lamp. When you do so, you are shortening their life substantially. Keep them in a cool spot and keep their water cool. If you are planning to put them out for a special occasion, you may even want to consider keeping them in the refrigerator until it’s time for display. Direct sunlight, hot rooms, warm or hot water, or lots of lamps will cause them to wilt.

2. Remove excess leaves and trim stems

maintain your flowers to add to their lifespan

Trim the stems a few inches back and remove any extra leaves. Cut on a diagonal while the stem is sitting under running water. This will help them to stay watered and fresh. If leaves fall into the water, get them out. They are not good for the water and will harm the flowers as they decompose. See # 5 for more about clean water and why it is important!

3. Add something to the water

There are plenty of commercially sold flower preservatives, but many people use Sprite, a penny, salt, crushed aspirin or charcoal. All of these ingredients have antimicrobial properties that will kill bacteria in the water and give your bouquet a longer, happier life. These all work and it’s really just a matter of what you have around the house. If and when you change the water, add more of whatever it is that you choose to use.

4. Hairspray on Flowers?!

Yes, Hairspray! Try spritzing the petals briefly from a few inches away. Don’t saturate the flowers, and keep a few inches of distance, but go ahead and (yes, seriously) spray your flowers with hairspray. This will help to keep the flowers from wilting and dying. Why is not completely clear… but it works.

5. Change the water

Change the water daily to keep it clean, fresh and healthy. Just as you need clean, sanitary water to stay healthy, so do your flowers. This is often overlooked and people are confused when their flowers die after just a day or two, but you must keep the water that your flowers are drinking CLEAN. It’s their sustenance.

6. Maintain the flowers

Remove excess leaves and stems to make your flowers last.

As buds wilt and die, cut them away. This will keep the water cleaner. Plus, they are just unattractive. Keep the bouquet healthy, happy and pretty by checking it each day for dead, or dying blooms. You can do this at the same time that you are changing the water to make your flower care quick and simple.

7. Cut at the right time of day

If you are cutting from your garden, try and choose cool times of the day. These times are early morning or late evening. These are the best times to cut the plant, without harming it. As mentioned before, cool environments are best for cut plants… from the second that they are cut.

8. Keep daffodils separate

Daffodils will give off a compound that is toxic to other plants. If they are put in a vase with other flowers, they will poison the water and kill the others. Daffodils are stunning and should definitely be kept in your home. Just keep them in their own vase. If you aren’t worried about the life of the flowers and just want a great arrangement short-term, then throw them in. However, if longevity is important to you, then don’t. Daffodils need their own special home in your home.


9. Keep flowers away from fruit

It’s tempting to create decorative arrangements with fruit and flowers. They look so lovely together. You can create such fancy and chic looking centerpieces and they are both such naturally beautiful elements. Let’s put it this way, if you are going to make a wedding centerpiece that will be used for one day then go for it. However, if you want your flowers to last, keep them away from fruit as much as possible. Fruit gives off a gas that will age your flowers. Don’t store your flowers near your fruit bowl and DO NOT put fruit in with your flower arrangements. This will cause them to wilt, turn brown and die much more quickly.

10. Keep your flowers in the water

This may seem obvious but is sometimes overlooked. If you cut flowers or receive flowers, you need to get them into water as soon as possible. If you change the water in a vase, make sure to get your flowers back into the water immediately. It’s common sense, but worth mentioning. Keep the flowers in the water at all times.