How To Keep Flowers Fresh After Cutting
By: Nikki Tilley, Author of The Bulb-o-licious Garden
Nothing brightens up a room or table centerpiece quite like a fresh bouquet of flowers, but sometimes knowing how to keep flowers fresh eludes us. However, keeping cut flowers fresh doesn’t have to be difficult. By following some simple guidelines, you can easily extend the life of those beautiful bouquets.
Keeping Cut Flowers Fresh While Harvesting
When it comes to harvesting cut flowers, some tricks of the trade can be practiced to help ensure the viability of plants. Harvest cut flowers in the early morning or evening hours and about one hour after watering, as this enables the stems to fill with water.
When harvesting single-blooming flowers, like tulips, choose those with buds that are nearly closed. For multiple-blooming plants such as lilacs, opt for flowers with about three-fourths of the buds open. Harvesting flowers that have fully developed reduces vase life. It may also be beneficial to select cultivars known to have a longer shelf life.
Other tips on how to keep flowers fresh while harvesting include cutting stems on a slant, which helps stems to absorb water more easily. Also, remove any leaves that will be submerged in water. Always plunge cut flowers into water immediately after cutting. The lower half inch (1.5 cm.) of plants with milky sap should be slightly charred over a flame or dipped into boiling water to seal the ends. Woody stems should be crushed with a mallet and plunged into water (room temperature). Re-cut and crush every other day to prolong vase life.
Aftercare: How to Keep Flowers Fresh
There are several things you can do for keeping cut flowers fresh once they have been harvested. Try to keep cut flowers in an upright position prior to being placed in vases. Handle them carefully so as not to inflict any damage to the stems.
Consider water temperature. While most flowers prefer lukewarm water, some plants, like many bulbs, do well in cold water. Change the water every couple of days; and if possible, place cut flowers in a cool location, away from any direct sunlight.
Keep tulips and daffodils away from one another, as narcissus plants are toxic to them.
Adding about a teaspoon (5 mL.) of sugar or glycerin to a pint (473 mL.) of water can help extend vase life by acting as a preservative. Likewise, flower food (floral preservative) from the local florist, prepared in lukewarm water, also works well. To help with pH levels, some people add a couple tablespoons (30 mL.) of lemon juice. Adding a teaspoon (5 mL.) of bleach can also help reduce the growth of any bacteria that may be present.
When it come to keeping cut flowers fresh, it is also important too that all shears or pruning tools are kept sharp and clean. Water buckets and vases should also be kept clean, disinfecting with chlorine bleach.
Now that you know how to keep flowers fresh longer, you can enjoy them both inside and outside your home.
This article was last updated on
Read more about General Flower Garden Care
Here’s advice from flower farmers on how to keep your cut flowers fresh in a vase—and the best cut flowers to grow in your garden!
When to Cut Fresh Flowers
How to Cut Flowers Outside in the Garden
Selecting a Vase
10 Tips on How to Cut Flowers for a Vase
Which Flowers Are Best for Cutting
- Dianthus (including Carnations, Pinks and Sweet Williams) are some of the best known of all cut flowers. They last 14 to 21 days!
- True Lilies such as Oriental Lilies last 8 to 10 days and add dramatic flair. When cutting lilies in the garden, leave a third of the lower stem. Note: Daylilies (which not true lilies) are not cutting flowers they don’t last more than one day.
- Sunflowers and gladiolus both have a vase life of 7 to 10 days, and both make great cut flowers.
- Chrysanthemums last for a week or more.
- Tulips have a vase life up to one week they continue to grow after you arrange them. (Some flowers, such as daffodils, contain a type of sap that will shorten the vase life of other flowers. Tulips don’t mix with daffodils.)
- Peonies last 5 to 7 days. (Note: Take no more than a few blooms from each peony plant and avoid cutting stems from plants that are less than three years old.)
- Sweet peas last 3 to 7 days and add nice height to a flower arrangement. The more you cut your sweet peas in the garden, the more they will bloom!
Here are reader favorites from the flower cutting garden:
- In May to July: Narcissus, Tulips, Peony, Snapdragon, Butterfly Ranunculus, Salvia.
- July to September: Sunflowers, Zinnia, Cosmos, Rudbeckia, Dahlias, Stock, Asters, Statice, Amaranthus
We hope these tips help you extend the lives of your cut flower arrangements! Do you have any tips of your own? Please share in the comments below!
How to Feed and Water Your Fresh Flowers
Supply your flowers with a flower food mixed into their water. This will keep blossoms and foliage lively longer, as they take up nutrients from the food. Mix the food into the water before adding it to the vase, and don’t dilute the food beyond what its packet specifies – usually either a pint or a quart of water.
Flower food and water mixtures can become cloudy if this happens, remove the flowers and mix a fresh solution for them. Always use lukewarm water at about room temperature, not a hot or icy cold water, to reduce the stress on the flowers.
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How To Keep Cut Flowers Fresh
If you have a garden filled with beautiful and coloured flowers, you can make use of it by garnishing your home with them. Fresh cut flowers add to the beauty and grace of the home and if you decorate it well in an embellished flower vase, you will see natures beauty.
According to experts, they say keeping fresh cut flowers in your home will bring a lot of good luck and will also decrease stress levels. If you love fresh cut flowers, purchase a beautiful flower vase and decorate your home in the best way. On one hand, placing fresh cut flowers in a vase may seem like a waste of money because of its short life span. Therefore, many people are turning to artificial flowers, and thus using it to decorate their home.
Today, Boldsky has assembled some of the best home remedies which will make your fresh cut flowers last longer. Take a look at some of the tips, which you can now use to make your cut flowers look fresh for a longer time in the vase.
If you insert aspirin in the flower vase which has fresh cut flowers, it will increases the acidity of the water thus helping it move up the stem. This tip is to make cut flowers last longer.
A coin dropped in a vase will make the cut flowers fresh and last longer. The reason being that the metal of the coin acts as a natural antibacterial agent.
If you want to make your fresh cut flowers last longer, one of the tips you can follow is to drop in a few drops of Listerine in the vase. The Listerine kills bacteria the way it kills plaque!
A tablespoon of bleach will do wonders to keep your cut flowers fresh. The bleach prevents mold, which usually kills flowers.
One of the best tips to keep your cut flowers fresh is by adding white vinegar to the flower vase 60 seconds before you place the flowers in. The vinegar and the water acts as a catalyst to prevent the flowers from dropping after the third day.
Adding a spoon full of sugar to the flower vase will make the fresh flowers last longer because the sugar helps in photosynthesis. But one disadvantage of this tip is that, it promotes bacterial growth.
These are some of the tips for you to try out in order to keep cut flowers fresh.