How to Make Cut Flowers Last Longer

Updated on November 28, 2018
Beth Eaglescliffe profile image

Friends say I have "green-fingers," and the garden certainly seems to respond to my efforts. I enjoy observing wildlife and being outdoors.

Caring For Fresh Flower Bouquets


When choosing cut flowers make sure every part of the bouquet is in tip-top condition. Check none of the leaves have withered or turned brown or show signs of disease. The flowers should be either in bud or only slightly open.

Condition and Display

When you get home, make sure the vase you intend to use is really clean. Rinse it with bleach and use a scouring pad to remove all traces of mildew or algae from previous bouquets. Before arranging your cut flowers, you need to condition them first. Give them a refreshing drink by leaving them in a bucket of water up to their necks for a couple of hours. This allows them to absorb the moisture they have lost since leaving their nursery.

A cut flower bouquet can last a long time if treated right.
A cut flower bouquet can last a long time if treated right. | Source

Flower Food Sachets Help Cut Flowers Last Longer

Many bouquets of cut flowers are sold with a small flower food sachet attached. These help the cut flowers to last longer. Flower-food is a mixture of bleach and sugar. The bleach kills any bacteria in the vase water, and the sugar feeds the flowers and maintains their freshness.

If there is no sachet with the flowers you buy, you can make your own. To do this dissolve a teaspoonful of sugar (or one sugar cube) plus one teaspoonful of bleach into each liter (2 pints) of vase water.

Fresh Cut Flowers

Do you like fresh flowers in your home?

See results

7 Easy Ways To Make Flowers Last Longer

Conditioning and Preparing the Cut Stems

When the stem draws water up into the flower heads it also takes water to any leaves below the flowers. So the first step is to remove any excess leaves that you do not want in the finished arrangement. Make sure you remove any leaves that will be below the water level of the vase as these will rot and taint the water. Then take off any remaining leaves that you do not want for contrast color next to the blooms.

By the time your flowers or plants arrive in your home, they will probably not have been watered for some time. So you must rehydrate them. Fill a bucket with tepid water (room temperature) or you could fill a kitchen sink with water instead. Trim the base of each stem so that there is a fresh raw surface ready to suck up the clean water. Place the cut flowers into the bucket (or sink) so that the entire stem is submerged and the flower heads rest on top of the water. They should be left like this for a minimum of half an hour and up to two hours depending on their condition.

After having a good drink, the flowers and stem will be refreshed and be in a better state to last in your home. Gently lift each stem individually from the water shaking off the excess and then arrange them in your vase. The video below shows how a professional florist carries out this task.

What to Look For When Buying Cut Flowers

Look For

  • Closed or only partially-open buds.
  • Locally grown flowers.
  • Healthy green leaves.
  • Florist stores with a steady trade.
  • Clean fresh-looking plants.


  • Fully open blooms.
  • Air-freighted blooms.
  • Withered, yellow or brown leaves.
  • Tired "old-looking" stock.
  • Signs of mildew or mold.

How to Keep Cut Flowers Fresh

After-Care of Vase Water is Important

Change the vase water regularly to make your flowers last longer. Remember to renew the plant food (or your home-made equivalent) when you do this.

Flowers that have woody stems (for example roses and hydrangeas) last longest if you arrange them in a deep water vase. Flowers that have fleshy stems (for example tulips and daffodils) can do better if the water level is kept shallow as this prevents their stems rotting.

When you are arranging the flowers, the shorter you cut the stem, the longer the flowers will last as the heads don’t have as far to draw up the water.

Cut Flowers Affected by Temperature

Cut flowers are susceptible to changes in temperature. Avoid placing them in direct sunlight or near a source of heat. This will speed up the flowers ageing process and they will wilt and decay more quickly than in a cooler location. At night, it is often a good idea to move flower arrangements so that they are not left in a cold draught. In general, cut flowers do not like to be too hot or too cold.

Keep your cut flower arrangements away from bowls of fruit. As the fruit ripens a gas, ethylene, is given off. This causes blooms to ripen too and they deteriorate more quickly and die back as a result. With proper care and attention, a bouquet of flowers should last at least two weeks and often much longer. They look beautiful and the scented flower varieties also give a wonderful perfume to your home.

Top 10 Most Expensive Flowers in the World

Say I Love You With Flowers

Flowers make a beautiful gift; an expression of love or as a way of saying thank you. When giving or receiving a bouquet the important thing to remember is that they are (or rather were) part of a living organism. From the moment the blooms are cut, to the moment you put them into a vase with water, they need to be treated with care.

If you are lucky enough to be able to grow flowers in your own garden, bring them indoors as soon as possible after cutting. This will make the transition from soil to water quick and relatively painless for your flowers and wilI cause the least trauma to the cut stems.

Do Flowers Cut Shorter Last Longer?

There is no evidence for shorter stems helping flowers last longer. However, cutting stems at an angle does help blooms stay fresh. A slanted cut means that a greater surface area of the stem comes into contact with the vase water. The plant is thus able to "drink" more easily.

After a few days, you can freshen the display by re-cutting the stems under water. This will revive the blooms for a few more days.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


Submit a Comment
  • quildon profile image

    Angela Joseph 

    4 years ago from Florida

    Hi Beth,

    This is a lovely and informative hub. I learned something new about not placing flowers close to fruits. I never knew that might hasten the aging of the flowers. Thanks for sharing! Voted up and useful.

  • sallybea profile image

    Sally Gulbrandsen 

    4 years ago from Norfolk

    Beth Eaglescliffe

    I was always told that I should cut flowers under water. I am not sure that there was any merit in the idea but as I recall, it was to prevent the stems from getting an air lock in them.

    Beautifully presented Hub with some lovely images. That Amazon Ad with the Sweet Peas had me wanting to go straight to their site to buy some. They are just my favorite flowers. Voted up.



This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)