Flowers are a common gift for any of life’s special occasions and even the moments in between. A bouquet of bright blooms can bring cheer to any space and leave a lasting impression, even after they’re gone. Whether you’ve received an anniversary arrangement, a graduation bouquet or picked out a gorgeous bunch for the coffee table, you’ll want to enjoy them for as long as possible.
The sad truth is that fresh cut flowers don’t last forever. On the bright side, there are guidelines and little known tips you can use to ensure the longevity of your flowers. We are uncovering everything you need to know about how to make flowers last longer and even putting a few theories to the test.
Flower Care Tips
The first step to making your flowers stay fresh longer is by following a few flower care guidelines. Use the tips below to to extend the life of your blooms from the start.
Cut the Stems One of the most common mistakes people make after receiving flowers is forgetting to cut the stems. Use garden shears to trim one to two inches off and cut at an angle. Cutting the stems at an angle allows for better water intake since they aren’t sitting flat on the bottom of a vase. After the initial cut, be sure to re-trim your bouquet once every few days.
Prune Remove any leaves below the water line. It will not only make your bouquet look better, but also prevent bacterial growth. Some flowers, like roses, have guard petals which are the two or three outermost petals of the flower. Removing these will allow your flower to open up fully. After your initial pruning, you should check your flowers daily for dead or loose leaves and petals in order to avoid bacterial rot.
Water Wisely It’s not only important to get your bouquet hydrated, but to do so wisely. Your flowers won’t last long without water, especially once their stems have been cut. After picking out a clean vase, fill it with room temperature water and add in a packet of flower food. Make sure that the packet has been properly mixed and that the water is not too diluted or too concentrated. It’s also important to clean your vase thoroughly and change out the water and flower food every two to three days.
Avoid Direct Sunlight, Heat, Drafts and Fruit Your flowers will last longer in a room with cool temperatures. Avoid displaying them in direct sunlight or near appliances that generate heat. You’ll also want to avoid areas like open windows, heating or cooling vents and ceiling fans as they can cause the flowers to quickly dehydrate. You also shouldn’t display your bouquet near fruit. That’s right, ripening fruits release tiny amounts of ethylene gas which can reduce the longevity of your fresh arrangement.
In addition to general care, people have also been experimenting with different ways to make flowers last longer. Think household remedies like adding pennies, aspirin and even vodka to your flower water.
9 Interesting ways to Make Flowers Last Longer
There’s no need to keep asking yourself how to make flowers last longer. Surprisingly, you might have a few things lying around the house that can help you enjoy your bouquets. Check out the interesting list of household remedies below:
- Apple Cider Vinegar + Sugar
- Flower Food
Sure these theories sound convincing, but which ones actually improve the life of your bouquets?
We were curious too, so we put a few flower care strategies to the test. We took the nine most popular theories for how to make flowers last longer in a controlled environment, here’s what we found out.
We started with nine of the same ProFlowers bouquets. In each vase, we added one ProFlowers flower food packet and lukewarm water. Then each of the vases received one of the following flower care tricks and there was one control vase that received no treatment. On day three, we changed out the water, cleaned the vase and added the same ingredients back in.
Check out what each of these tricks claim to do, how to make the concoctions yourself and what happened over the next seven days below:
Apple Cider Vinegar and Sugar: Mix 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and 2 tablespoons of water into a vase before adding your flowers. Vinegar acts as an antibacterial agent while the sugar acts as additional flower food. Although apple cider vinegar and sugar didn’t take the title as the worst result, it did come in a close second.
Aspirin: Mix 1 crushed aspirin into your vase of fresh flowers. Aspirin is said to lower the pH level of the water allowing it to travel through the flower faster, preventing wilting. Aspirin might be the solution to a head ache, but it’s not your best bet for keeping your flowers fresh.
Bleach: Add ¼ teaspoon of bleach to your vase of fresh flowers and they should stay fresh longer, at least that’s what they say. Bleach will keep your water from getting cloudy as well as help fight bacteria. The bleach did indeed keep the water in the vase from getting too cloudy although, it didn’t stand out in keeping the bouquet fresh.
Coins: Add a copper penny to your fresh bouquet. The copper should act as an acidifier, fighting the bacteria growth in your arrangement. On Day 4, the blooms with the copper penny opened up nicely. In fact, it may have caused the flowers to open too quickly resulting in a few wilting flowers by day 7.
Flower Food: Adding flower food to your vase of fresh flowers is a tried and true way to keep your blooms fresh longer. Each of our tested bouquets also received a packet of flower food along with their treatment.
Fridge: Put your bouquet in the fridge every night before bed (typically 8 hours per night.) Flowers are said to thrive in cooler temperatures. It is thought that the low temps help slow the aging. Looks like floral bouquets like to stay nice and cool. The bouquet that went in the fridge overnight came in first place and is the best way to make flowers last longer. This bouquet was looking healthy even on day 10.
Hair Spray: Spritz your fresh blooms with hairspray. There’s not much science to back this theory, but it holds your hair in place so it should work, right? Wrong. Whatever home remedy you decide to try to keep your flowers alive, it should not be spritzing the petals with hairspray. We recommend avoiding doing so at all costs. The hairspray came in last place being the worst way to make flowers last longer.
Soda: Pour ¼ cup of soda in a vase full of fresh flowers. The sugar in soda is said to make your blooms last longer and even smelling sweeter too. Looks like flowers enjoy some extra sweetness, the soda came in as our runner up trick to making flowers last longer. In fact, even on day 10 the soda bouquet was looking just as healthy as day 1 with the only difference being the flowers opening up more.
Vodka: Add a few drops of vodka (or any clear spirit) to your vase of flowers. Vodka is said to have a different effect on flowers. The spirit’s ability to inhibit ethylene production, a ripening gas that helps plants mature, slows the wilting of the flowers. This proved true and although vodka didn’t take the cake as the best way to keep flowers fresh longer, it did come in as third runner up.
The results are in! Ever wonder why florists keep their bouquets in the fridge? Well, now you know…
Looks like making sure your flowers are nice and chill is the best way to keep them fresh longer. You can also try adding a little lemon-lime soda to your water mixture. On the other hand, just because a spritz of hairspray will keep your hair in place doesn’t mean it will keep your bouquet of flowers fresh. In fact, we recommend avoiding the hairspray method altogether.
Now that you have some extra tricks up your sleeve for ensuring the longevity of your bouquets, you should try one out yourself! Browse our collection of fresh flowers and find the perfect bouquet for any celebration or surprise someone with flowers for no reason at all!