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Primer: Making Cut Flowers Last Longer

I love having fresh flowers in my house, but I hate it when they wilt after just a few days and have to be thrown away. So over the years, I've learned a number of tricks to help cut flowers last longer, from choosing the right varieties to exploiting the beauty of the last bloom. Here are a few hints; please feel free to share yours below.

  • Choose sturdy varieties of flowers. Some flowers just last longer than others. Daisies, carnations, and hydrangeas will stay nice for quite a while, as will alstroemerias, which is why you often see them adorning the tables of restaurants.
  • Seek out tightly closed buds. Particularly for shorter-lived flowers—such as stargazer lilies, roses, and tulips—buy buds that aren’t quite open yet and let them bloom in the vase.

For the rest of my tips,

  • “Cut in” the stems. Before putting a batch of flowers in water, cut each stem at an angle with a very sharp knife. Also, you know that packet of flower food that often comes with an arrangement? Use it.
  • Keep the water fresh. Just as you would with a plant, keep adding water to the vase as the flowers soak it up. Every few days, dump the dirty muck and replace it with fresh water.
  • Weed out the wilted ones. Instead of tossing a whole bouquet with a few brown blooms, pick out the troubled flowers and toss them, then transfer the ones that still look nice to a smaller, clean container.
  • Down to just one flower? Display it solo in an understated bud vase.


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