How to Make Cut Flowers Last Longer


An abundance of flowers in the garden means a bounty of vases full of blooms in the house. Fresh cut flowers are such a beautiful addition to the home that it is always sad when they fade. Although part of what makes them beautiful is the fact that they are temporary, there are a few things you can do to make them last as long as possible. Read on for some tips to make your cut flowers last a whole lot longer with just a few simple steps.

When my son graduated from preschool, my husband and I brought him a bouquet of fresh flowers. After the graduation ceremony and the adorable play that the children put on (where my son was the big bad wolf no less), I handed him a bouquet of flowers, gave him a big hug and kiss, and I told him how proud I was of him.

The look he gave me was a mix of surprise and love. His eyes got wider and his voice got softer when he asked me, “Did you give me these flowers because you love me?” My eyes teared up and I said, “I gave you these flowers because I’m proud of you, and watching you graduate felt like something we should celebrate. And what better way to mark the occasion than with a beautiful bunch of flowers?”

He didn’t let go of the flowers the whole night. We went out for dinner afterwards and I recommended that we bring the flowers home on our way so that we could put them in water. He reluctantly gave them up so I could put them in a vase. As soon as we got home he ran to the flowers and brought them up to his room. He found the perfect spot on his nightstand after moving some Lego, books, and a Batman figurine to give them prime space.

He asked, “They’re going to die right?”
I said, “Yes they will die eventually and that will make us appreciate them even more.”

I greatly appreciate flowers for their beauty and for their purpose in the garden, but it’s what cut flowers do outside of the garden that is so special. It helps people feel loved. To keep that feeling for as long as possible, here are a few tips to make your cut flowers last.

Most flowers are best harvested in the morning when temperatures are still cool and they have the highest water content.

Choose flowers that are close to their full splendor. By this I mean that they are just coming into full bloom. Too early and you run the risk they won’t open, too late and you may miss the show altogether.

Use a sharp knife (don’t pick!) and cut just above a leaf node. Cut the stem at an angle so that there is the most possible inner-stem surface touching the water.

Remove all of the foliage that will be underwater as the leaves will rot in the water and speed up decomposition.

Bring a bucket or jar of water with you to harvest and add the flowers right away as you cut.

Bring the flowers inside and let them rest for a few hours before starting your arrangements.

For woody stemmed flowers like Hydrangeas, dip the cut end of the stem in boiling water quickly before adding the bloom to cold water.

If you would like to make an easy floral preservative at home, simply add a little white sugar and vinegar to the water. This helps to feed the flowers and ward off bacteria.

Change water daily and re-cut the stems every few days.

Display arrangements in cooler locations out of direct sunlight.

With these tips you should have a house full of flowers for a long, long time!

Want to know what the best flowers to grow in your cutting garden are? See some ideas here and here.



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