How to Make Fresh Flowers Last Longer

It’s no secret I love fresh cut flowers– just check out my Instagram feed during spring and summer. And since we’re officially in the midst of spring, although the temps don’t make it feel as such, I thought I’d share some tips on how to make fresh flowers last longer.

GREAT tips on how to make fresh flowers last longer!

Whether it’s flowers you buy from the grocery store or florist or flowers you grow in your garden, you obviously want to get the most life out of them as possible. So here are some things I do to keep my blooms from croaking too soon.

white roses

1. Get Flowers in Water ASAP

Flowers wilt quickly when without water. So if you’re out running errands, get your flowers last. If it’s a long drive back to your house from the store, wrap the bottom of the stems in damp paper towels or put them in a vase or bucket with water.

2. Keep Leaves Out of Water

Leaves left on the bottom of the stems and placed in water start to rot, which causes the water to become contaminated. Before you put flowers into the vase of water, cut off all the leaves that would be in the water. If a leaf happens to break off and fall into the water while you’re arranging the flowers, scoop it out. (See how I have just the stems in the water in the photo below? You want that.)

pink peonies

3. Cut Stems with Sharp Knife or Shears

Some people think scissors damage the stems, preventing them from taking in water so use a sharp knife or garden shears if possible. These are my go-to shears.

4. Cut the Stems at an Angle

This helps more water get into the stem because you’re creating a bigger surface area. It also helps when you put the blooms in a vase. When you don’t cut the stem at an angle it will sit flush with the bottom of the vase, making it more difficult for water to get into the stem. If you cut at an angle, only the tip will touch the bottom of the vase.

pink and yellow tulips

5. Keep Blooms Out of Direct Sunlight

Ever wonder why florists keep floral arrangements in coolers? Because flowers last longer in cooler temps.

6. Change the Water

I change out the water everyday or every other day. Flowers love fresh water. It takes less than a minute to walk the vase to the sink, grab the flowers, empty the old water, add new water, put the flowers back in the vase, and take it back to where you had it.

purple hyacinths

7. Clean Vase

After my flowers finally die, I make sure to clean my vases out really well with soap and water or run them through the dishwasher to make sure all the microorganisms are dead and gone.

8. Flower Food

Now, I have to admit that I don’t use flower food all the time. But florists highly recommend using this additive to provide proper nutrition to the flowers. Ask for some extra packets of food when you buy your flowers– you’ll need them when changing the water daily. You can also buy flower food (see here).

red roses

Looking for a good vase? Here are some of my favorites.



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  1. I’ve heard adding an aspirin to the water works if you don’t have flower food available. Ever tried that?

  2. I love fresh flowers! It’s nice to treat myself to a bouquet when I’m at the store. They’re like a reward for surviving the grocery store!

  3. I did an experiment on this in high school. You can take a cup of sprite or sierra mist and let it sit out over night and get flat. Add the flat sprite to the water in the morning. The plants use it as food 🙂 Simple and easy alternative.

  4. These photos are so gorgeous! You really could use them as art in your home.

  5. I learned a random trick in college to put Listerine in the water. I have no idea why, but it works!!

  6. You definitely have an eye for photographing flowers. You can definitely use these as art pieces in your home!

  7. I always put a spoonful of sugar in the water. I always forget, though, to change the water on a regular basis.

  8. Vicki Graham says:

    Cut tulips brown quickly and should not be given floral food, as the sugars in these can speed up the process.
    Adding a dab of alum to the freshly cut end of a woody hydrangea stem seals the cut and keeps the water clear.

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