How to Preserve Flowers

Ever wonder how to preserve flowers once they've been cut? Enjoy these tried-and-true tips for keeping cut bouquets bright and beautiful.

How to Preserve Flowers: Vases of fresh flowers

How to Preserve Flowers

Place flowers in an uncrowded container of tepid water with added floral preservative. Photography by Thea Folls.

How to Preserve Flowers: Flowers in a basket

How to Preserve Flowers

Ethylene gas from fruits, vegetables and gas fumes can damage fresh flowers. Photography by Thea Folls.

How to Preserve Flowers: Small bouquet in vase

How to Preserve Flowers

Trim stems with a knife at a 45-degree angle. Photography by Carol Disalvo.

How to Preserve Flowers: Floral lantern arrangement

How to Preserve Flowers

Display an arrangement in a cool spot. Photography by Thea Folls.

How to Preserve Flowers: Large bouquet in urn

How to Preserve Flowers

Rinse the container and change the water to keep it clean. Photography by Thea Folls.

 

Ever wonder the best way how to preserve flowers once they’ve been cut? Extend your bouquets’ vase life with these simple suggestions for keeping petals in peak condition:

  • Cut flowers for your bouquet in the morning, after the dew dries but before the day gets hot.
  • Choose flowers that are opening rather than those  that are in full bloom.
  • Trim stems with a sharp knife at a 45-degree angle, removing low-hanging foliage.
  • Place bouquet in an uncrowded vase of tepid water as soon as possible; add a floral preservative.
  • Display bouquet arrangements in a cool spot away from fans, air conditioners and heating vents.
  • Don’t place cut flowers near fruits and vegetables, smoke or gas fumes—many are ethylene-sensitive.
  • Recut bouquet stems after two or three days as needed.
  • Rinse the container and change the water. You want to keep your vases as clean as your teacups.

Judith Ann Boston 1 June 1, 2012 at 7:57 am

Where does one purchase floral preservative? Do Walmart or Kmart carry or must one go to a floral shop? I tried a small floral shop @ they didn’t have any for public to purchase. Thank you.

Reply

sharon 2 June 1, 2012 at 8:51 am

Hi, Judith, A good-size flower shop, garden center or supermarket should carry commercial floral preservatives. If you can’t find any in your area, try one of these two DIY versions, suggested by the Master Gardeners program: (1) Mix one part of any of the common lemon-lime sodas with three parts of water. Do not use diet drinks or colas. Diet drinks have no sugar and the colas contain too much acid for flowers. Adding 1/4 teaspoon of household bleach (Chlorox or similar) per quart will keep the solution clear.
(2) Put 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or bottled “Real Lemon,” 1 tablespoon of sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon of bleach in a quart of warm water. Add another 1/4 teaspoon of bleach to the vase every 4 days.

Reply

Dotti Schuck 3 June 1, 2012 at 2:15 pm

If your hydrangea’s go limp in a vase arrangement remove flower and put head in hot water and flower will come alive again!

Reply

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