4 Top Tips for Making Fresh Cut Flowers Last Longer

04 May 2017

One of the questions I get asked by my customers is how to care for fresh cut flowers, so they last as long as possible. This always makes me happy as it’s sometimes easy to forget that flowers aren’t just beautiful objects, but are living things that need a little bit of our love and attention to last more than a couple of days.

Buying direct from a reputable florist is always a good starting point as the flowers you buy will be of a much higher quality than those bought at the local supermarket and they will have been prepared and stored in near-perfect conditions to maximise their freshness.

But whether it’s a shop, flower market or your own garden, the last thing you want to do is stuff your glorious blooms into a vase and hope for the best! There are actually a few simple things you can do to get the maximum amount of enjoyment from your bouquet.

Here’s my 4 clever ways to make your flowers last longer and look amazing!

1. Cutting stems

Done properly this will undoubtedly extend the life of your flowers. Fill a basin or clean sink with lukewarm water. Place the flower stems into the water and cut each stem at a sharp angle using scissors or a sharp knife, 1-inch to 2-inches from the cut end. Remove any leaves that may fall below the water line.

If your flowers start to look a bit ‘floppy’ then try searing the stem ends in a mug of boiling water. Somewhere between 10 and 60 seconds is enough, depending on how woody and hardy the stem is but this can have a miraculous effect on vase life and some floppy blooms even make a total recovery after searing!

2. Add flower food to fresh water

The secret to keeping cut flowers looking good, as a long as possible, is to minimise the growth of bacteria in the water (the battle against slimy flowers stems!) and then provide some nourishment. A sachet of flower food, like we provide with all our bouquets, does just the job. I’d also recommend changing the water in your vase every few days. Top tip: use warm rather than cold water and make sure the vase is squeaky clean.

3. The whole kit & caboodle

If you love to fill your home with fresh flowers then I’d recommend a few key tools that don’t cost the earth! A pair of florists’ scissors have stronger blades than normal scissors and their fine tips are great for trimming flowers and cutting thin stems. A hand mister is useful to refresh or revive blooms with a fine mist of water and having a few ties, such as floral wire, twine and small rubber bands come in useful for bundling stems.

4. Location, Location

I’m always surprised when I see supermarket flowers displayed next to the fresh fruit section. Fruit (as well as cigarette smoke) both produce ethylene gas which shorten the life of flowers. So, avoid the kitchen fruit bowl!

For cut flowers, lighting isn’t really an issue in terms of longevity, just be sure that the room is cool and that they aren’t sitting in direct sunlight.

Even though I always recommend using flower food, if you display your flowers in a crystal or metal container just stick to fresh, warm water as the acid in the flower food will react with metal (including the lead in crystal). Eek!

Then it’s time to sit back and smell the roses! …But if your roses start to look a little worse for wear and you’ve run out of flower preservatives then you could always try this old wives’ tale – crush an aspirin in the water before adding your flowers to keep them looking garden fresh.

Hope you’ve found these tips useful; we’re always on hand to talk flowers! I’d love to hear some of your pointers too, so feel free to share them with us on our Facebook page.