How to Make Flowers Last

On occasions when I’m fortunate enough to receive flowers, I often (woefully) neglect them to the point of desiccation or to where the water in the vase becomes toxic sludge.

These tips for making cut flowers last are helpful:

  • Start with fresh blooms. Gently squeeze the flower head; it should be quite firm and tightly closed. Check the stems and avoid anything slimy. Ick!
  • Choose long stemmed flowers over short. A long stem means a flower has had enough time to grow. Even if you ultimately want a short arrangement, start long and cut to size.
  • Make a fresh 45-degree cut to help flowers soak up water.
  • Remove all leaves that could be underwater. Otherwise they’ll be bacteria magnets and shorten the life of your bouquet.
  • Re-hydrate. If you’re making your own arrangement and have time, soak them for several hours in fresh water.
  • Use the flower food provided. Just follow the directions on the packet. (I am totally guilty of not doing this. Ever).
  • Change the water ever 1-2 days. Add a small amount of flower food with the fresh water.
  • Advanced tip: For droopy tulips, poke a pin through the stem just below the flower’s head. This will facilitate the flow of water and allow air to escape. (Thanks to Martha Stewart Living for that last tip).

Here’s a lesson from Martha on making floral arrangements and another from Real Simple magazine.


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