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How to Make Cut Flowers Last Longer

An abundance of flowers in the garden means a bounty of vases full of blooms in the house. Fresh cut flowers are such a beautiful addition to a home and it’s always sad when they fade. Although part of what makes them beautiful is the fact that they are temporary, there are a few things you can do to make them last as long as possible. Read on for some tips on how to make cut flowers last longer with just a few simple to make cut flowers last longer

The Joy of Cut Flowers

When my son graduated from preschool, I brought him a bouquet of fresh flowers. After the graduation ceremony and the play that the children put on (where my son played the big bad wolf, no less), I handed him a bouquet of flowers, gave him a big hug and kiss, and I told him how proud I was.

The look he gave me was a mix of surprise and love. His eyes widened and his voice softened when he asked, “Did you give me these flowers because you love me?”

My eyes teared up and I said, “I gave you these flowers because I’m proud of you, and watching you graduate felt like something we should celebrate. And what better way to mark the occasion than with a beautiful bunch of flowers?”

He didn’t let go of the flowers the whole night. We went out for dinner afterward and I recommended that we bring the flowers home on our way so that we could put them in water. He reluctantly gave them up so I could put them in a vase.

fresh cut flowers from the garden

As soon as we got home, he ran to the flowers and brought them to his room. He found the perfect spot on his nightstand after moving some Lego, books, and a Batman figurine to give them prime space.

He asked, “They’re going to die right?”

I said, “Yes, they will die eventually and that will make us appreciate them even more.”

I appreciate flowers for their beauty and for their purpose in the garden, but it’s what fresh cut flowers do outside of the garden that is so special. It helps people feel loved. To keep that feeling for as long as possible, here are a few tips on how to make your cut flowers last longer.

How to Make cut Flowers Last Longer

Are you looking to make your own gorgeous arrangements? It’s so satisfying to bring some of your garden beauties inside to admire or to gift to friends. Flowers bring so much joy, whether that is a vase sitting on the coffee table or a single stalk on a nightstand. Check out this video for some quick tips on how to make your cut flowers last as long as possible.

YouTube video

Harvest Correctly

Most flowers are best harvested in the morning when temperatures are still cool and they have the highest water content. If you harvest on a hot summer’s day, your flowers will be quick to wilt.

Choose flowers that are close to their full splendor. By this, I mean that they are just coming into full bloom. Too early and you run the risk they won’t open, too late and you may miss the show altogether. Blooms that never fully open are so disappointing!

flowers with bottom leaves removed

Use a sharp knife (don’t pick!) and cut just above a leaf node. Cut the stem at an angle so that there is the most possible inner-stem surface touching the water. Disinfect your knife after each cut to ensure you don’t spread any diseases between plants.

Bring a bucket or jar of water with you to harvest and add the flowers right away as you cut. This way, they won’t have the opportunity to wilt as you’re still picking.

fresh cut floral arrangements

Arrange Your Fresh Cut Flowers

Bring the flowers inside and let them rest for a few hours before starting your arrangements.

Remove all of the foliage that will be underwater as the leaves will rot in the water and speed up decomposition.

For woody-stemmed flowers like Hydrangeas, dip the cut end of the stem in boiling water quickly before adding the bloom to cold water.

See more of my best flower arranging tips here.

hydrangea in a mason jar


Make Floral Preservative

When you buy bouquets of flowers from the grocery store or a florist, they often come with their own floral preservative. But when you cut them on your own, what can you put in flower water?

If you would like to make an easy floral preservative at home, simply add a little white sugar and vinegar to the water. The sugar helps to feed the flowers while the vinegar wards off bacteria.

Some say crushing 1 aspirin into the water can also help to preserve the flowers. It lowers the pH of the water and prevents the flowers from wilting. However, the science behind this hasn’t been backed up. I would say the sugar and vinegar combo is your best at-home floral preservative.

fresh flowers from the garden

How to Water Fresh Cut Flowers

Change water daily to ensure your flowers don’t sit in contaminated water. If you notice your water getting cloudy at all, be sure to change the water immediately.

When you first cut your flowers, they will be very thirsty. Keep a close eye on them for the next 24 hours as you may need to refill the water because they already drank it up!

If you notice the flowers are looking a little wilted but still have plenty of water, consider giving them a mist. Spraying cut flowers with water replicates a humid environment. Plus, some flowers can actually absorb water through their leaves and petals, such as hydrangea.

Every couple of days, recut your stems as well. I do this while I’m changing the water.

fresh floral arrangements


Where to Place Fresh Cut Flowers

Display arrangements in cooler locations out of direct sunlight. The heat will make them wilt quickly and evaporate their water.

Another way to keep your flowers nice fresh is by placing them in the fridge. Florists always put their flowers in the fridge to make them last longer, so why not do it at home too?

At night before you head to bed, pop your arrangement into the fridge. The cold temperatures will help to slow down the aging. Ideally, the flowers should be in the fridge for about eight hours at a time.

flowers from the garden

With these tips, you should have a house full of flowers for a long, long time. Remember, some flowers last longer than others when cut. By following these tips, you should have at least a week of cut flowers to enjoy, if not more!

Keep in mind that a beautiful vase of freshly cut blooms stems from growing the right kind of flowers! Here are the best flowers to grow in your cutting garden. 

More Posts About Flowers:


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