How to make cut flowers last longer
Nothing can brighten up a room quite like a bouquet of flowers – and nothing is more disappointing than when they begin to wilt. Of course, it's inevitable for your blossoms to eventually lose their luster, but there are ways to extend their vase life. All it takes is the right tools and tactics to keep your blooms looking and smelling fresh.
Use these tips and your arrangement is bound to bring you joy for far longer:
- Be sure to cut garden flowers early in the day, when there's the advantage of cooler temperatures and morning dew. Blossoms that are cut on a hot afternoon won't last as long because the heat is dehydrating to the petals.
- If you're cutting flowers with multiple buds, such as gladioli, Alstroemeria or snapdragons, at least one of them should be opening and showing color. On the other hand, blooms that grow on separate stems, such as chrysanthemums, dahlias, zinnias and Gerbera daisies, are best cut when fully open.
- Always clean the vase thoroughly before placing your bouquet in it to eliminate any bacteria that could kill your flowers.
- Gently graze the stems with a vegetable brush to clean them of any debris or bacteria.
- To prepare the stems properly, cut 1/2 inch off the end at a slanted 45 degree angle with sharp scissors. This will prevent you from crushing the stem and also ensure that the stems can absorb water quickly and effectively.
- Splitting the stems 1/2 inch from the bottom with a knife can also aid them in taking up water.
- When placing the stems into a vase, remember to remove all leaves that will be submerged under water, which will only rot.
- It's important to put the stems into water as quickly after cutting them as possible to prevent the ends from sealing up. Ideally, the water will be lukewarm to cool and hit halfway up the stems.
- The best temperature range to keep flowers fresh is around 45 to 55 degrees, so consider storing them in a cooler room in your house. You can even place them in the fridge overnight to help preserve them.
- Don't place flowers in direct sunlight, which can be too harsh for most blossoms. Additionally, keep them away from heating vents and fans, which can cause them wilt much faster. Many kinds of flowers are sensitive to ethylene gas, so it's best to keep them away from fruit, which releases it.
- Different flower varieties require various levels of attention, but as a general rule, you should change the water every two days.
- Varieties that have hollow stems, such as delphiniums, may dry up more quickly, so it can help to fill the stems with water and plug them with a cotton ball before placing them in water.
- Sugar can help your blooms to last longer by nourishing the stems. So consider dissolving 3 tablespoons of sugar into 2 tablespoons of white or apple cider vinegar and adding it to the vase water. Just remember to add more vinegar and sugar when you change the water every couple days. About 1/4 cup of soda like Sprite or 7-Up can also help to boost your blossoms' longevity.
- To avoid cloudy water, add a few drops of bleach to the vase water.
- Hairspray doesn't just lock your hairstyle into place, it also preserves flowers. Standing 10 to 12 inches away from your arrangement, spritz a light mist of hairspray on the undersides of the petals.
- If you drop a penny into the vase, the copper can act as an acidifier to hinder bacteria growth.