How to make flowers last longer, according to florists

How to make flowers last longer, according to florists

Is there anything better than a bouquet of freshly cut flowers? The glorious color and wonderful scent can transform any room. But here’s the unfortunate truth: they start dying as soon as they’re put in a vase. All flower arrangements begin to wilt within days, and most die within a week. However, you can do some things to make your flowers last longer. We asked experts to share tips on how to help your flower collection live its best, longest life possible.

Trim the stems

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According to Christina Stemple, founder and CEO of Farmgirl Flowers, long-lasting flowers start with healthy stems. Since the stems can easily dry out during transportation, trimming the flower stems a few inches allows the flowers to hydrate more efficiently. Cut each stem at a 45-degree angle to maximize the surface area through which the flowers draw water. Also try cutting the stems under warm (not hot) running water to ensure they are hydrated immediately.

Additionally, re-cutting the stems whenever you change the water will help your flowers stay fresh. Aim to keep the stems a few inches from the bottom of the vase. This allows the stems to stay moist because they can drink more freely without the bottom of the vase getting in the way.

Remove the lower leaves from the stems

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Megan Phoebe, floral designer at Scotts Flowers, recommends cutting or plucking any leaves below the waterline in your vase. These leaves can contaminate the water with bacteria and kill the plant more quickly. Keeping the water clean and free of these leaves can help the flowers stay fresh and smell good.

Keep away from direct light and heat

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Resist the temptation to display your bouquet in front of a window, because freshly cut stems are surprisingly sensitive to light. Flower arrangements should be removed from direct sunlight and heat sources to best stay moist, Stempel says. It’s also best to avoid areas with high humidity if possible, as cut flowers thrive best in cool environments.

Replace the water every day

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Regularly changing your arrangement’s water supply is another trick to help keep your flowers looking (and smelling) fresh. “Bacteria buildup is normal as your flowers age,” says Stempel. “Remove deposits by giving your stems a fresh drink, and if you see buildup at the bottom of your vase, give the vessel a quick clean.”

How much water is enough? Stempel recommends filling the vase three-quarters full with cold tap water before displaying flowers; Replacing and replenishing water regularly is essential for beautiful flowers.

Always wash the vase well with soap and water before adding any flowers. Make sure to rinse off all the soap completely as well. Soap residue can harm your flowers and affect their longevity, so double-check that your vase is nice and clean before using it.

Pick wilted flowers as quickly as possible

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Once you notice that the cut flower in your arrangement has died, remove it from the bouquet as soon as possible. Like fresh fruits and vegetables, flowers release ethylene gas, which is detrimental to the longevity of live flowers. To prevent a dying flower from killing its neighbors, simply thank it for its service, then uproot it.

Keep the flower food flowing (or make your own)

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Typically, fresh flower bouquets can come with a packet of plant food to add to the water in the vase. When adding food, it must be mixed well. Add more flower food every two to three days after changing the water.

If necessary, bleach can act as a preservative. “If you’re busy or forgetful, adding a few drops of bleach to a vase will help extend the life of your stems because it slows bacterial growth,” says Stemple.

You can also make your own flower food. Sugar is often added to help give the flowers more nutrients to continue growing, but it should not be added alone. Sugar can cause bacteria to grow, so also use a natural antibacterial agent such as vinegar to help balance the flower’s pH levels.

A simple flower food recipe is 2 tablespoons white vinegar or lemon juice and 1 tablespoon sugar mixed in a large pot of water.

Remember that flower longevity varies

Not all flowers have the same life expectancy. Each variety is different and may last longer or shorter once the stems are cut and transferred to a vase. For example, carnations last much longer than peonies.

If you purchase a pre-made bouquet from a local grocery store, they may have been cut days in advance, so longevity may not be the same as with freshly cut flowers at the florist.

Average life expectancy of cut flowers
I cut the rose longevity
Cloves Up to 2 weeks
Alstroemerias Up to 2 weeks
Roses Up to 1 week
Hydrangea Up to 1-2 weeks
Peony Up to 1 week
Tulips Up to 10 days

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