How to Care for Cut Flowers

how to make your cut flowers last twice as long

Spring is here finally, and the flowers are blooming everywhere.  If you wanted to bring some spring inside, you might want to cut some of your flowers and put them in a vase.  Or maybe you are in the habit of buying flowers every so often at the store so bring some life and color to your house.  Or maybe your sweetie brought you some flowers just because!

Either way, you want to get the most out of those beautiful blooms.  What?  Take care of CUT flowers?  What’s the point?  They are going to die anyway!  Sure you could just put them in a vase with some water and call it good.  But those flowers will probably die a week earlier than they could have lasted.  Some cut flowers can last up to three weeks (or more!) if you take care of them right.  I used these methods for how to care for cut flowers back when I was doing floral design and wedding flowers.

how to care for cut flowers

I have had these Hydrangeas for two weeks in this picture.  Now it’s been about two and a half weeks and they still look great.  I think I can get another week out of these!

Here are 10 ways you can get the most out of your cut flowers.

1.  Put them in water as soon as possible.  This may seem like a no-brainer, but as soon as you get home from the grocery store, don’t just let them sit on the counter while you put your groceries away.  Do the flowers first.

2.  Before you put them in water, re-cut the stems.  You will probably have to do this anyway so they fit in the vase, but every second cut flowers are out of water, their stems start to ‘scab’ over and close up.  Re-cutting the steps helps to open up the stem again to take in water.

3.  When you cut the stems, cut them at an angle.  This allows for a wider base at the stem and allows the maximum amount of water to go up the stem.

4.  Remove most or all of the leaves.  I like to leave a couple of leaves on the stem just for looks, but any leaves below the water line will make the water get nasty quickly.  Plus they absorb a lot of the water, taking it away from your blooms.

5.  Mix in the flower food packets.  Almost every flower bunch you buy will come with a little packet of flower food.  Please mix this in with the water!  It extends the life of your flowers so much more.

6.  Use lukewarm water.  Don’t use hot or cold water for your flowers, it’s too shocking and/or damaging to them.

7.  Don’t put them in direct sunlight.  They need some light for the flowers to open up, but being in direct sunlight will cause them to die faster.

8.  Remove wilting blooms.  When some of the flowers start to die but others still look good, remove the dying ones immediately and throw away.  Dying flowers produce more ethylene gas than the others and ethylene gas is a ‘ripening’ agent.  It is the same way with fruit–that’s why bananas get ripe faster when they are together…they produce more gas and ripen each other.  Dying flowers produce more of the gas that causes the other flowers to begin to wilt faster as well.

9.  Re-cut the stems and change the water.  After about a week, or a few days, depending on how your flowers are looking, you will need to re-cut the stems and change the water.  The water will get more bacteria that is feeding the flower, so fresh water and stems will help a lot.

10.  Be careful where you buy your flowers.  Some stores have higher quality than others.  Usually natural food stores like Sprouts and Trader Joe’s have a good selection.  Costco flowers also have fared well for me.  Walmart has been hit and miss.  I bought tulips once from Walmart and they died in like two days.  I think they were diseased to begin with because some of the stems were moldy.  If you can, examine the stems for mold or rot before purchasing.  I like buying them from Costco also because they usually have a floral expert there who will give you tips for your specific flowers.  Did you know you can dunk Hydrangea heads in water to refresh them?

 

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Comments

  1. Thanks Heidi I didn’t know about dunking Hydrangea heads.

  2. Christy Keyton says:

    My yard is filled with hydrangea bushes – they are my favorite flower. I think I have about 25 bushes. Thanks for the tip about dunking them in water to refresh – now they will last even longer. I love to dry them too!

  3. Just bought a couple of hydrangeas to plant, so this is very helpful! Thanks a bunch!

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