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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.


Join The Conversation
The-City-Girl The-City-Girl 9 years
Yes, I was going to say the same things as fluffypuff: Cut the stems at an angle and immediately immerse them into warm or hot water, with the plant food dissolved into it. Aspirin apparently works if you don't have any plant food provided. The reason using scissors isn't good is because doing so pinches closed the stem's veins that carry water and nutrients to the flower
ms_dior_cherie ms_dior_cherie 9 years
i knew most of these and have ahd sucessful flowers all the time! i usually buy the CLEARANCE roses and bring them back to life for at least a week a half or more!!
ishop2much ishop2much 9 years
Thanks for the tips! I love fresh flowers, especially hydrangeas!!!!!!!!!! :)
rubiesymusica rubiesymusica 9 years
i just got flowers fo the second time a few weeks ago for my bday and i changed the water every two days and they lasted me 2 weeks.
fluffypuff fluffypuff 9 years
I took a floral design class in college and here are a few tips that I learned: Always put fresh cut flowers in warm water. They allow the flower to soak up the water better. Using cold water will shock the flowers and they won't last as long. Putting a penny at the bottom of a vase doesn't benefit the flowers. This was only the case in the olden days when there was more copper in pennies. Flower food is most beneficial because it feeds the flowers and kills bacteria. If that is not available you can use a little bit of lemon-lime soda or mouth wash. Using bleach or sugar really isn't good for plants. Lastly, when cutting flowers don't use scissors as this damages the vessels within the plant that transport water. It is best to use plant shears or a sharp knife.
Lseaton611 Lseaton611 9 years
Great tip from my mother-in-law: When you have tulips put a penny in the bottom of your vase before filling with water and leave it there for as long as you display the flowers. Something on the penny allows for the Tulips to straighten out so you don't have those bent, sagging tulips. They'll usually straighten within an hour or so.
greeneydmonster greeneydmonster 9 years
those purple orchids last for months. i swear!
shulvrkrp shulvrkrp 9 years
When the flowers (especially roses) are towards the end of their rope, I like to cut the head off and float them in a round glass bowl/vase. They look really great like that! Peonies too!
delia delia 9 years
I used to work at a salon that had fresh flowers delivered once a week. The salon owner swore by adding a splash a bleach to the water in the vase - killed the bacteria that caused the flowers to wilt, she says. All I know is that the flowers never wilted before the end of the week. Crazy!
ktjones ktjones 9 years
I love having fresh flowers on my desk at work....thanks for the tips!!
beingtazim beingtazim 9 years
i wish i could afford more fresh flowers - they make such a difference in a home! love the tips Casa.
Food Food 9 years
Thanks for the tips - the little packet of flower food does wonders, it always amazes me how many people throw it out. Fresh flowers are an absolute vice of mine. Even though there are a ton of plants, the house seems empty without them!
Schaianne Schaianne 9 years
I also have heard of adding a penny to the water. I cut my stems underwater all the time ... when I first get my flowers and then every couple days!
girlboy girlboy 9 years
oh nice thankss
Nan-Einhart Nan-Einhart 9 years
Great advice. I am a floral designer and if more people knew these tricks, they would be happier with their floral purchases.
millarci millarci 9 years
Love these tips!
vienvien vienvien 9 years
Thanks for the tips !
annyshears1959 annyshears1959 9 years
i love fresh flowers. i get them out of my yard. cut them fresh. i really like wild flowers they last longer
intensebandgeek intensebandgeek 9 years
Thanks for these tips! I have a question, though. If we don't have plant food, I heard it's good to use 7-up in place of water; or, mix some sugar in the water. Is that true?
ALSW ALSW 9 years
Thanks! I knew most of them, but Tip #2 was helpful.
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