Tips for Keeping Your Cut Flowers Fresh

by / Feb 15, 2019
Tips for Keeping Your Cut Flowers Fresh

Did you get some fresh roses or tulips from your Valentine? Were you gifted some Happy Birthday hydrangeas? Did you treat yourself to some peonies, daisies, or daffodils to add a pop of color to your week? If so, you probably want to keep those flowers fresh and lively, brightening your room for as long as possible!

We’ve found several tricks you can use to extend the life of your blooms once they enter your home or workspace, including the initial re-cut, natural preservatives, and how they are arranged. However, one of the most important things you can do to take care of your flower arrangements happens to be one of the most important things you can do to take care of your own health: plenty of clean water!


Recutting Flowers

Whether you received a flower delivery or picked up a floral arrangement directly from the store, re-cutting your flowers is the first step to improving the vase life of your blooms.

How to: Using sharp scissors or pruning shears, cut stems at a 45-degree angle removing about 1/2 inch from the bottom. An angular cut is important as the increased surface area allows for more water uptake. It also helps if you trim the flower stems submerged in warm water. Trimming the stems underwater helps prevent bubbles from forming within the thin tubes that transport water up the stem. Those air bubbles can block water flow to the blossoms, leading to premature wilting. Florists recommend holding the stem about 3 or 4 inches below the waterline as you re-cut.


Clean water keeps flowers fresh

When setting out to preserve a flower arrangement, you should always start with a clean vase and use the purest water available! This idea may seem obvious, but chemicals and other contaminants found in tap water will shorten the vase life of your cut flowers (and you!). 

How to: Using a Clearly Filtered Pitcher or Under the Sink Filter System will ensure the harsh, damaging chemicals and harmful contaminants will be taken out of the water, and your flowers will benefit from the trace minerals that remain. We recommend giving your flowers fresh water to drink daily and re-trimming the stems every few days. The daily addition of clean lukewarm water to your floral arrangement helps keep the flowers fresh. It also prevents the vase water from stagnating and becoming a breeding ground for bacteria and unpleasant odors.


Flower Food

Along with water, providing your cut flowers with nutrients will help keep them fresh. If you don’t want to spend the extra money on store-bought flower food, try adding a little sugar to the water to give your flowers a little energy boost. Because bacteria also use sugar as energy, we recommend adding a little bit of a natural antibacterial agent, like apple cider vinegar, to the water. We have heard some folks recommend using a clear soda, like 7-Up or Sprite, as a source of sugar, along with a few drops of bleach to inhibit bacterial growth. Still, we think that is just reintroducing contaminants to your freshly filtered water. 

How to: To keep your flowers fed and your water clean and fresh, add two tablespoons each of sugar and apple cider vinegar to a quart-sized vase. A quart of water is 32 oz or half of what your Clearly Filtered Pitcher holds when full.

Along with vinegar, you may want to add another acidifier, such as a small amount of lemon or lime juice or even copper, like a few pennies. The acidifier helps to control the pH balance of the water. This step further discourages the bacteria that generally thrive in sugary room-temperature water!

Remember that most flower shops provide plant food in the water of their arrangements. Most shops also provide you with one or two extra packets of preservatives. These packets typically contain sucrose to feed the cut stems and a biocide to kill bacteria. When using one of these packets, it is best to use fresh water and the packet—no need to add anything else.


The Flower Arrangement Matters

From chrysanthemums to sunflowers, every flower arrangement has slightly different needs. Different plants can interact in ways that impact bloom health. Carnations, for example, can last 14-21 days under the proper flower care, but pairing them with particular natural objects, like fresh apples or grapes, can reduce this duration to under a week. Fresh fruit releases ethylene gas which causes flowers of all types to wilt. Carnations are especially susceptible to the effects of ethylene.

How to: Flower choice is crucial if you want your arrangement to last as long as possible. Carnations are an excellent choice for longevity, as we already mentioned, along with chrysanthemums, alstroemeria, lilies, hydrangeas, and clematis. On the other side of the spectrum, even under ideal conditions, peonies, dahlias, proteas, ranunculus, and roses won’t even last two weeks.


The Best Flower Storage Method

Another great way to extend the life of your flowers is to store them each night or until you are ready to display them.

How to: We recommend storing your flowers in the refrigerator. Just place them in your fridge before bed and bring them out to show off the following day. Cold water temperatures slow the aging process of fresh flowers and will help them last longer. This is also why florists often store their flowers in refrigerators before displaying them.

Keeping your flowers out of sunlight or direct heat helps them extend their lifespan. Because the heat from direct sunlight will cause flowers to wilt, store your flowers in bright indirect sunlight.

Remember, your flowers will appreciate the extra care you show them and will stay fresher if you take these additional steps. We hope you have many happy Valentine’s Days, birthdays, Mother’s, Father’s, Grandparents’, and “Me Days” ahead of you filled with happy memories accented with beautiful fresh flowers!