7 Easy Ways To Make Fresh Cut Flowers Last Longer

make flowers last longer

Even a few flowers from the garden in a mason jar brightens up a room, don’t you think? I love having fresh-cut flowers in the house, and the other day I noticed that some of my favorite flowers in my beds were in bloom, so I quickly cut some to bring inside.

As I was arranging them with some grocery store flowers I already had to make a bouquet, I was reminded of the many tips I’ve picked up over the years to make my cut flowers last a little longer. So once I was finished with the flowers, I rushed to my keyboard so I could share those tips with you today!

Here are 7 of the best ways to make cut flowers last longer.

7 Tips That Will Make Your Cut Flowers Last Longer

fresh flowers

1. Give Them “Flower Food”

Even after they’re cut, flowers still need food and water. Florists often include a little packet of food so you can add it to the water in your vase, but you can make your own flower food at home.

Just measure out 1 quart of lukewarm water, then to it add 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1 teaspoon of household bleach, and 2 teaspoons of lemon (or lime) juice. Mix it up, then pour it into your flower vase before adding or arranging your flowers. Easy!

fresh flowers

2. Keep Foliage Out Of The Water

Submerged foliage encourages microbial growth that can clog the flower stems and prevent water and food from getting to the blossoms. Be sure to remove the lower leaves before placing flowers in a vase—it will go a long way toward keeping the water fresh and making the flowers last longer.

fresh flowers

3. Make Clean Cuts

Using a sharp knife or scissors to re-cut each stem on a slant just before it goes into the vase will also help the flowers with water uptake. Very sharp scissors or knives will help you avoid crushing the stems, which can negatively affect water uptake and allow microbes in. Even better, do it under water in the sink so air doesn’t block the end of the stem.

fresh flowers

4. Keep Them Cool

Did you ever notice that florists store a lot of their flowers in refrigerated spaces? That’s because the ideal conditions for cut flowers is 34-36° with 90-95% humidity. We may not be able to provide these exact conditions at home, but keeping them away from heat and direct sunlight will help them last longer. (You could even move them to cool room or the fridge at night to give them a boost.)

fresh flowers

5. Refresh The Water

Flowers absorb a lot of water their first day in a vase, so keep an eye on the water level and replenish it when needed. If the water is cloudy after a couple of days, take the flowers out, dump out the water, and wash the vase. Then rinse the stems under running water, cut an inch or so off the bottom, and fill the vase with fresh water and flower food before replacing the flowers.

Related: This Ingenious Trick Is The Best Way To Clean Glass Bottles

fresh flowers

6. Edit As Needed

Since some flowers last longer than others, you can keep your arrangement looking fresh by removing spent flowers and wilted foliage. As the size of your bouquet shrinks, transfer it to a smaller vase and make a fresh arrangement to keep it looking full and beautiful.

fresh flowers

7. Keep Them Away From Fruit

If you’ve ever seen all the fruit in a bowl going bad seemingly in unison, it wasn’t because the bananas and apples made a pact to check out at the same time. More likely, the cause was ethylene gas, which is released by some fruits and vegetables and stimulates maturation.

Flowers can be affected by the presence of ethylene gas too, so keeping your flowers away from the produce bowl can help keep your flowers in better shape.

How do you keep your flower arrangements looking good?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Homekeeping Tips

  • I love this time of year with all the flowers blooming.,We very rarely have bouquets in our house. We have some flowers growing in a little wooden barrel type planter. My dad will occasionally pick a rose from our bush when they’re blooming.

  • Cari202 is right on about stripping all leaves from the stems. But you should NEVER cut stems with scissors because this crushes the veins that carry the water up into the flowers. Use a sharp knife. The same botany major roommate who told me this also described cutting the stems under water as someone already mentioned . I have found this doesn’t make much difference!

  • Hello, I work at an assisted living home for seniors with dementia. I was also wondering if there was a substitute for bleach. I just don’t want to take any chances with my seniors . Thank you

  • After working for a florist for over a year, I learned another great tip – if you don’t mind my sharing… Make sure the leaves are stripped off the part of the stem that will be in water. When the leaves break down they cause bacteria to grow. By eliminating them in the water, it stays fresher longer and the flowers will last twice as long. Thank you for the constant inspiration!

  • Wow Jillee…bleach…I never would have thought that bleach would do good for fresh cut flowers. I am going to try this one forsure…I even book marked it

  • My favourite way to keep flowers fresh is to pop a copper penny (if you still have them) into the vase. They look like have been caught in a ‘time warp’ for 1 1/2 – 2 weeks and then the petals just drop. I have been using this method for years and it works like a charm….the hard part is finding the pennies.

  • Thank you for this! I usually like to keep a vase of flowers on my table to brighten up things for myself [no one else generally cares LOL] but I hate when they’re dying – I’ve found that alstromeria, the flower in the forefront of your vase photo, last FOREVER. And often come in a variety of colors where I shop. So I now just buy a bouquet or two of those at trader joe’s [they’re available at most places I shop] in the colors that look best to me.

  • I noticed that your post said that you buy your flowers from a grocery store. Just wanted to mention that if you purchase your flowers from a LOCAL florist they will be fresher to start with, and therefore will last longer than the grocery store variety. It will also help your LOCAL economy to grow. That purchase will give you a chance to get to know your LOCAL florist so that when you are in need of a bouquet or arrangement to be sent to your loved ones, you will have a personal connection with that florist. Thanking you in advance from everyone in the floral industry!

  • My all time favorite cut flower/ herb combo is
    Coneflower. …black eyed susans….and a handful of peppermint stems and parsley stems for beautiful greenery that last surprisingly up to 2 weeks in a vase or jar filled with fresh water daily….and of course any concoction as mentioned is fine for the herbs too. The smell from rhe bouquet on my kitchen counter is lovely too.

  • […] CLICK HERE for my post on how to make fresh-cut flowers last longer! […]

  • Hello! Would you mind if I share your blog with
    my facebook group? There’s a lot of people that I think would really enjoy your content.
    Please let me know. Thanks

  • I know I’m WAY late, but . . Sweet Peas are one of the best cut flowers ever. They are beautiful and fragrant and abundant — just remember to plant the seeds in the fall for spring blooms.

  • My fave trick was to use plain old Listerine. I’d usually by the no name brand and depending on the size of the vase I’d use anywhere from a tsp to a Tbl. Works great!

  • We had a professor of Horticulture advise to use the plain Listerine type mouthwash (you know the golden stuff) since it contains an antiseptic, sugar, water and everything needed to keep the flowers fresh and healthy for a very long time. Add about a tablespoon to the water and you have to change it out regularly as the water gets cloudy but, it really works!

  • Love your tips. A friend was asking me how I learned to make all my cheap toiletry items and cleaning products. Sent them to your site, I think that probably 75% of my pinterest might have came from your blog. :-) I was looking for things to add to fresh-cut flowers too and I found that a few drops of Listerine or generic Mouthwash works too.

  • Cool, I’ve always wanted to find a recipe like this, but never got around to looking. I think I’ll go cut some of my daisys, too.

  • Crushing up an aspirin in the flowers’ water and changing it regularly can make flowers last ages. I received flowers and made them last well over a month by doing that alone. :) Your flower beds look amazing!

  • When I received some flowers for Valentines Day, it didn’t come with one of those mystery packets…. I talked to the florist and she said to crush up and add 2 aspirin to the water in the vase, and it would do well. My flowers lasted about 10 days…. way longer than I was expecting them to!

  • Gerbera Daisys are my absolute favorite. Something about a daisy is so cheery and uplifting. Took awhile to get the husband to understand daisys instead of roses !

  • Remember “clear pepsi”? that used to be my go-to. I will try this as I normally just add sugar. Yay my Zinnias and my sunflowers. Oh I use the same mason jar as you :)

  • I have hydrangeas, purple and white coneflower, daylilies, lamb’s ear, butterfly bushes and roses that dominate my perennial beds (along with a variety of ground covers and hostas). Depending on the color of my vase, I usually take from this variety as it suits me! I have annuals in pots and hanging baskets that I use as centerpieces from time to time. My crape myrtle is a deep salmon color and a few blooms clipped from their branches look mighty pretty in a crock. Other southern favorites (I’m in Tennessee) are magnolia blossoms floating in a bowl and Queen Anne’s lace picked from an obliging field or the side of the road. Sometimes I just use lots of greenery from the shrubs and add a few flowers. That’s the true beauty of floral design from the landscape — there’s a seemingly endless parade!

  • This year for cutting, I grew 3 different varieties of zinnias (the most awesome cut flower EVER), cosmo’s, and bachelor’s buttons. Also three varieties of cone flower. I’ve had cut flowers all summer — will definitely try this recipe!

  • when I was little, before we moved from semi arid to rain forest, we had tulips and tiger lilies growing alongside some of the farm buildings. I LOVED it when they bloomed, and that’s still one of the best combinations ever IMO. =)

  • I grow my own Zinnia’s every year! They start blooming in June and don’t stop until October.
    I have fresh cut flowers all summer into early fall <3
    Thanks BUNCHES for the recipe

  • I have always heard you could just use an asprin. Now whether or not baby asprin or regular…am not sure. either way…now I got another great tip from ya! thanks! :)

    • Oh yea…my favorite flowers…the big expensive bouquets that krogers can’t sell and mark down to like 5.00 from 20.00. Can’t beat that! :) lol

    • If you were to substitute powdered bleach for liquid, would the measurement stay the same? I just know that if I try to measure 1 spoon of bleach, it will be all over the place LOL I am clumsy like that.

      Oh and my favorite fresh cut flowers are from spring, daffodils and tuilps, beautiful!

      • Tanya….I would think powdered bleach would work just as well. Trust me….I understand the clumsy thing! lol.

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