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How to Make Cut Flowers and Bouquets Last Longer

Urvashi Pokharna
Flowers increase the aesthetic beauty of their surroundings. We love gifting them and decorating our house with them. But, flowers begin wilting within 2 days of being cut from the stems. What a waste of beauty and money! Isn't it? Then, let's help you keep them fresh and alive for more than 7 days!
I have often heard from my aunt, a professor in botany, that you should cut your flowers at a sharp angle with a knife to make them last longer. I do it every single time without fail but it still doesn't keep my flowers alive for more than 2 days. Beyond that time, they start to look dull and brown. Do you often encounter the same problem?
I absolutely hate buying flowers only because once the flowers have been picked, they will die sooner in the vase than on the tree. It is as good as murdering the flowers. And, for those people who love keeping flower arrangements at home, they have to change them at least every 3 days.
Especially, if someone special gifted you a beautiful bouquet, it would be disheartening to throw them away within the next 3 days because your flowers became so droopy. But I have some excellent tips that will make cut flowers last longer and few are even insider secrets that I managed to score from a few florists around town.

Ways to Make Flowers and Bouquets Last Longer

  • Did you know? The kind of water you put in the vase really affects the life of your flowers. Use bottled or still water (purified or filtered) instead of your regular tap water. Somehow, it manages to make flowers last longer. Try it.
  • Add a teaspoon of sugar and bleach into a gallon of water and use it to fill your vase. The bleach ensures that there are no bacteria growing in the water that wilt your flowers. The sugar helps the flowers provide nutrients so they last longer.
  • Use warm water in the vase during summers and room temperature water during winters to keep flowers in the vase when they have been freshly bought. It helps keep the environment of the flowers stable so they stay fresh. Sudden changes can harm the beauty of your flowers and they will die out faster.
  • After the above step, you can later change it to cold water because flowers are known to stay brighter and fresher in colder temperatures. You can even put ice cubes in the water!
  • I have often had friends tell me that adding a dash of Sprite, mouthwash, an aspirin or flower food (you get them with most bouquets) is also a wonderful way to prolong the life of your flowers in the vase. Vodka is also a good remedy to cheer up your flowers apart from your mood!
  • Since aspirin can prevent your flowers from blooming further, you can add alum, vinegar or lemon juice instead to the water if you want your flowers to blossom more. You can even use a combination of these.
  • Cut the stems as short as you can so the water reaches the flower more quickly and keeps it fresh. Get rid of all the leaves from the stems when you put your flowers in the water and change the water in the vase everyday. These tricks will make your cut flowers last longer.
  • For Gerber, you can also put a small slit with a sharp knife an inch below that point on the stem where the water level in the vase meets it. This helps easier flow of water to the flower and keeps it fresh and bright.
  • Have you heard that dropping a copper penny in a vase of tulips will instantly add life to their appearance and make them last longer? Well, it is true! It acts as a fungicide and works like magic on tulips.
  • Also, while making a flower arrangement, try not overcrowding the vase with too many flowers and leaves to promote circulation of air. If you do, your leaves should not be immersed in the water and polluting it. That will also cut short the life of your flowers in the vase.
  • If you see some withered flowers or leaves in the vase, remove them immediately. Do not let them sit. They emit ethylene gas that will make healthy flowers to wilt quickly too.
  • Keep all bulb flowers like daffodils, tulips, hyacinth, dahlias and lilies separately. Don't mix them with other flowers because they are toxic and cut short the lives of other flowers and your bouquet will wither more than you expected. They should be kept exclusively.
  • Before you place your flowers in the vase, let them sit in a bucket of water filled up halfway with water, overnight. It allows the flower to drink much water and also fills up the stem.
  • Buy fresh flowers that are still in buds or half-open, early in the morning from your local farmer's market. They will last long and you will be able to watch them bloom in your vase at home! Even if you are using flowers from your garden, cut them early morning when it's cool.
Did you know? Flowers like orchids, carnations, daisies, peonies, alstroemeria, zinnias and gladioli last longer in vases comparatively to others. Triumphant is another tropical flower that lasts for weeks! They are great investments if you hate changing your flowers often.
However, always remember to thoroughly clean and disinfect your vase every time you replace your flower arrangements. Also, keeping your flowers away from direct sunlight will help prevent them from dehydrating quickly. The heat will increase the temperature of the water and make it unfriendly for your cut flowers.
As I had mentioned earlier about snipping the stems at an angle, make sure you do it while the stems are immersed in water. Else, the air will make its way through the freshly cut edge of the stem and block the flow of water from reaching the flower.
This will make your flowers die out sooner. Re-trim the ends of the stem every 2 days. These are some great ways to make cut flowers last longer. Try them and you won't have to throw away your beautiful bouquets and flower arrangements frequently.