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4 Steps to Making Cut Flowers Last Longer

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 1 17

There are four cheap or free steps you can take to make a flower bouquet live longer.

Here are the four steps:

1.      Choose the Right Flowers

2.      Manage Temperature

3.      Trim and Maintain

4.      Manage Water Cleanliness

Flowers(52355)

Choose the Right Flowers

At the market, garden, grocer, or florist, choose the cut flowers that last the longest. Long-lasting types include Mums, carnations, gladiolas, peonies, zinnias, and generally most leafy branches or flowers with woody stems.


Manage Temperature

If you have a hand in when the flowers are cut – if they are from a garden, for example – cut the flowers during the coolest part of the day.

Heat makes flowers wilt faster, so when you bring your flowers into your home, find a place for them that is out of direct sunlight and away from the heater.

Consider placing small arrangements in the refrigerator overnight to help them last longer. If an arrangement is too large for the fridge, place them in the coolest area of the house for the night. Since heat rises, this often means placing the vase on the floor for the night.

Try not to let the temperature of the flowers go below 40ºF or above 72.ºF


Trim and Maintain

When you bring your flowers into your home, fill a sink or bucket with water and trim the stems at least one inch from the bottom at an angle while the stems are underwater. Use a sharp knife or sharp scissors for this task to avoid causes blockages in the veins of the stems.

In addition to cutting at an angle, create a vertical slice a going about one inch up the stem. This will help each stem to drink as much water as possible.

For woody stems, use a hammer or mallet to crush the bottom inch of the stem.

Trim away any leaves or branches that are going to be underwater.  Make sure the stems are clean by going over them with a toothbrush. The cleaner you can keep the water, the longer your flower arrangement will last.

Maintain your flowers by repeating the underwater trimming process every day or every other day. Also, trim any flowers that are showing signs of wilting. Wilting flowers speed the wilting process of the other flowers around them because they release ethylene into the air nearby.

As your stems get shorter and your arrangement smaller, you’ll get to enjoy the several different looks that one bouquet can offer.


Manage Water Cleanliness

Keeping the water your flowers are in free from bacteria will help your cut flowers last and last. There are  a number of around-the-house additives you can use to keep the water clean and fresh. It’s best to change the water every day or every other day, and refresh the additive of your choice each time. Here is a list of additives you can use to keep your flower water fresh:

  • Bleach (1 tablespoon per quart of water)
  • 7-up or Sprite Soda (1/8 cup per quart of water)
  • Sugar & White Vinegar (3 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons vinegar per quart of water)
  • Sugar & Vodka (three drops Vodka, 1 teaspoon sugar per quart of water)
  • Aspirin (one crushed tablet per quart of water)

Following these four easy and inexpensive steps will make your blooms stay fresh and colorful for days longer – hopefully for at least 10-12 days per arrangement.  Please add to the comments if you have more tips for making cut flowers last. And feel free to share what is the longest you’ve been able to make an arrangement last.


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Comments

Aug 3, 2011 5:28pm
footloose
These are great tips, thanks!
Aug 5, 2011 12:05pm
Zorabell
Thanks footloose, I'm glad you found them helpful. :) - Zorabell
Aug 3, 2011 5:47pm
philbechtel
Yeah, these are gresat tips. I find that simply changing the water every few days, even without additives, really helps. Thanks.
Aug 5, 2011 12:06pm
Zorabell
Hi philbechtel - for sure, changing the water every few days is a great tip! thanks for commenting!
Aug 3, 2011 9:46pm
kbuzz
Super article! My sweet husband is so kind to give me flowers on special occasions throughout the year. I will keep this article as a reference for sure! Thank you.
Aug 5, 2011 12:07pm
Zorabell
kbuzz, you lucky thing! I hope this helps those flowers last a long time.
Aug 9, 2011 7:35am
Lori_Elizabeth_Drew
Wow! This really is great advice! I always have trouble keeping flowers alive very long, and now I know everything I've been doing wrong! Thanks!
Aug 11, 2011 12:01pm
Zorabell
Lori, I'm so glad this could help! - Zorabell
Aug 9, 2011 9:18pm
paypalku
Hi Zorabell, your article is very interesting. With this i can knowing more about Making Cut Flowers. Thanks for share.
Aug 10, 2011 7:54pm
sonnetreader
If you like preserving flowers, try making a pyramid for them. You can grow them in one, or just water the flowers with water treated by placing it in a pyramid for a day. Place cut flowers in a pyramid for superior drying. If you try any of these ideas, let me know what the results are by commenting on my pyramid article. sonnetreader
Aug 11, 2011 12:13pm
Zorabell
Very interesting, sonnetreader. I never knew pyramids were so powerful. -Zorabell
Aug 11, 2011 12:02pm
Zorabell
You're welcome, paypalku.
Aug 10, 2011 10:43am
danmont
It is very interesting.
Aug 11, 2011 12:14pm
Zorabell
thanks!
Aug 10, 2011 11:20am
Lynsuz
Good tips for making cut flowers last longer.
Aug 11, 2011 12:14pm
Zorabell
thanks!
Jun 1, 2013 10:01pm
Januarius
The African and the European lifestyles are uniquely different.Europeans love flowers more than Africans.Personally,I love flowers in their natural environment but not cutting them and preserving them in the house.Kenya exports thousands of flowers to Europe and America.I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW THE MAGIC OF HAVING FLOWERS IN THE HOUSE.
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