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Flower Resource Guide

How to Keep Flowers Fresh

Whether your cut flowers come from your garden or you receive a flower bouquet as a gift, you want to keep the flowers fresh as long as possible. A few simple tricks can lengthen the life of cut flowers and let you enjoy that colorful arrangement for days.

Here is Our Guide to 6 Easy Steps to Keep Flowers Fresh

Step One: Cut the Stems

Cut half an inch off the ends of the stems to remove air bubbles that can prevent the plants from absorbing water. The cut should be diagonal to increase the surface area that can draw up water. Consumer Reports notes that this step is especially important if your flowers have been delivered or bundled together with rubber bands. Place the flowers in water immediately after cutting to prevent more air bubbles from forming.

Step Two: Place in Room Temperature Water

Room temperature water is ideal for most cut flowers, except for bulbs that bloom in cool weather, such as tulips and daffodils. Cool-season bulb flowers should be kept in water that is cooler than room temperature, according to Consumer Reports. Water that is slightly warmer than room temperature can help unopened flowers to bloom faster, but the flowers will also fade faster.

Step Three: Trim Leaves That Are Below Water

Leaves that are below water will rot and shorten the life of your flowers. If the leaves remain on the stem underwater, they become slimy from bacteria that cause disease. Before placing cut flowers in water, snip off below-water leaves to keep flowers fresh. Not only will cutting off the excess leaves make the bouquet last longer, but it will also make the flowers look better in the vase.

Step Four: Add Flower Food to the Water

You can use commercially prepared flower food and preservative, or you can make your own. Flower food should contain sugar for food and acid to help the stems absorb water. For example, Consumer Reports recommends superfine sugar and a crushed vitamin C tablet. Reader's Digest recommends adding two tablespoons each of apple cider vinegar and sugar. Add bleach or vodka to the food to kill bacteria that can feed on the sugar, and you have flower food that will help keep those blossoms fresh. A selection of our flower bouquets will come with flower food, which you can place in the vase when the flowers arrive.

Step Five: Change Water Every Three Days

To avoid buildup of bacteria that can kill your cut flowers, change the water every three days. The same sugar that feeds your flowers also feeds bacteria in the water and makes the water cloudy. For example, an article in the Daily Mail notes that flowers fed with a sugary lemon soda began to fade after two days. Wash the vase as well to remove all traces of bacteria. Cut an additional half inch off the ends of the stems to create a fresh surface for water absorption. If there are some dead flowers, simply take those out of the arrangement in move the living flowers to a smaller vase to continue to enjoy them.

Step Six: Keep in a Cool Environment

Flowers will fade faster in direct sunlight or heat. Keep your flowers in an area that gets bright but indirect sunlight and keep them away from heat vents, space heaters, and other direct heat sources. Apartment Therapy found that refrigeration is the best method for keeping flowers fresh for an entire week. Place the vase of flowers in the refrigerator overnight or for eight hours for best results.

Cut flowers add beauty and fragrance to the home. Try these tips so that you can enjoy your flowers for as long as possible. If you send a floral bouquet for a special occasion, make sure to call the recipient and pass along these easy tips for helping their gift last.


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