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How to Keep Fresh Cut Flowers Longer

John Andersen Photography John R. Andersen Photography

Long Lasting Blooms

There is nothing better than cutting flowers from your own garden. Bringing your garden blooms inside, arranged in your favorite vase as a lovely centerpiece on your dining room table is delightful. But have you ever noticed by day three the flowers aren't looking their best? Here are some tips on how to keep your fresh cut flowers longer.

Cutting Time

The best time to cut flowers from your garden is early in the morning or late in the evening, when temperatures are cooler. Flowers cut during mid-day, tend to experience more shock and have a harder time recuperating and wilt within a day of being cut. Choose flowers that are not blown open. Since flowers will naturally open in vases on their own, it’s ok to cut premature flowers (nearly-open buds); they will last longer in a vase. Make sure to cut an inch off the bottoms of the flower's stems right before designing with them. Flowers always need a fresh cut before placing in a vase. The best tool to use for cutting flowers, are floral snips or scissors that are sharp and clean. Using dirty scissors introduces bacteria into the flower stem and kills a flower faster.

Water Quality Peony_Cotton_Candy_Mix__2__480x720_72_RGB

Water quality is very important for long lasting cut flowers. By changing  the water every day, it minimizes bacteria. Bacteria are the number one reason flowers die early. In order for flowers to stay hydrated and fed, you can give them a boost by adding ingredients like sugar, into the water. Some examples of flower food are below.
1. Put flower preservative “flower food” into the water. You can buy small packets from a local florist. Make sure to not use the whole packet; if it’s a small vase, just add a sprinkle. If you use too much flower food, it will cause the flower to die early. Read directions on back of packet to give proper measurements.
2. Make your own preservative. Use 2 tablespoons vinegar with 3 tablespoons of sugar per liter of warm water. The vinegar kills bacteria and the sugar feeds the flowers.
3. Use clear soda, such as Sprite. The sugars in the soda will act similar to flower food. Make sure to just add 3 tablespoons of soda to a liter of water. Again, too much sugar can hurt a flower.

Eliminate Hazards

Cut flowers can be sensitive to their environment. Placing flowers near fruit is risky because fruit produces ethylene gas, which causes flowers to wilt. Flowers last longer at cooler temperatures, however if flowers get too cold they will freeze. Keep flowers away from drafty doors, or windows. If flowers are placed near a heat source they will die faster, so keep flowers away from wood stoves, heat vents and hot windows.

Flowers with Longer Bloom Times

Some flowers have a longer vase life than others.  Hydrangeas, Hostas, Coral Bells, Calla Lilies, Oriental Lilies, Freesia and Ranunculus have a vase life up to 2 weeks, if properly taken care of. Flowers that aren't worth cutting are Day Lilies, Bearded Iris, Lupine and Bleeding Hearts. These flowers tend to drop petals fast, or just fail to provide long lasting blooms.

Do you have any tips on keeping cut flowers long lasting? If so, please share with us on Facebook. Enjoy designing with flowers, send us your bouquets! We would love to see your photos!

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2 thoughts on “How to Keep Fresh Cut Flowers Longer”

  • Mark

    I have to disagree with your opinion that Day Lilies are not worth cutting. While it is true that each flower blooms for only one day, I have found that cutting stems with several unopened buds will last several days and add nice focal points to my summer cut flower bouquets.

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