A woman in a pink dress arranging fresh peonies in a clean vase to make them last

How to Keep Flowers Fresh in a Vase, You Lucky Thing!

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I don’t know about you, but I don’t get surprised with a bouquet of fresh flowers very often. So when I do? Well, I want to keep those flowers fresh and make them last in the vase as long as possible.

Now, in all fairness, I do these steps even with flowers I buy myself. Hey, I said no one surprises me with them. I didn’t say I go without. Anyway, here’s how I keep flowers fresh in a vase so they last longer than some celebrity marriages.

Step 1: Start with squeaky clean.

If you store your empty vases on a display shelf like I do, they may be full of dust. Wash your vase then add some white vinegar to the rinse to cut through the dish soap residue and dry it with a lint-free towel. Flowers last longer in a clean vase.

Step 2: Pretend you’re watering Goldilocks.

Add water that’s not too hot, not too cold, but just right. Room temperature water avoids damaging the stems, so your flowers can continue to pull water up through them.

Step 3: Trim stems on schedule.

Every day or two, hold the flowers under running water and cut the stems about an inch. Use a clean, sharp pair of scissors and cut at an angle to maximize the surface available to take that water up.

This keeps bacteria and air bubbles from blocking the stems, so your flowers can stay hydrated. That’s vital to keeping your flowers fresh.

Step 3: Repeat.

Clean vase, room temperature water, stems cut before bacteria blocks them—all good things. Repeat them daily to prevent bacteria buildup and keep your flowers fresh.

Step 4: Say goodbye to the stragglers.

Don’t leave wilting or fading blossoms hanging out in the vase. When flowers start dying, they release ethylene gas that makes other flowers wilt quickly, too.

Also, wilting flowers start to rot so that causes bacterial growth and makes the water gross. So remove the fallen when you’re changing the water and washing the vase.

Step 5: Keep it clean down below.

All that greenery that comes with your bouquet is lovely, but it can sabotage your flower’s lifespan. Make sure to trim away leaves and the other green stuff that would be below the waterline in the vase.

If you’re keeping track of things, that means you’ll be remove leaves higher up the stem each time because you’re cutting the stem shorter each time. Beauty is fleeting. *sniffle*

Step 6: Pick the place carefully.

A vase of cheery flowers on a sunny windowsill only looks good in the movies. In reality, direct sunlight and heat cut your flowers’ lives short by speeding up bacterial growth.

The best spot for a vase of flowers is in indirect light and away from heat sources like radiators or appliances.

Step 7: Put them to bed at night.

One of the best ways to help your flowers last longer is by moving the vase to your fridge overnight. This slows down bacterial growth and wilting.

Don’t do it with tropical flowers, though. Those delicate beauties do best in a dark cupboard overnight.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does adding vinegar help keep flowers fresh?

Yes, adding vinegar can help keep flowers in the vase fresh. Vinegar is acidic, so it acts as a natural antibacterial agent, which reduces the growth of harmful bacteria in the water.

Try adding 1-2 tablespoons of white vinegar to 8 ounces of cool water in the vase but be sure to measure it: too much vinegar injure the stems.

Does adding an aspirin help keep flowers fresh?

Yes, adding an aspirin to the water in a flower vase can help keep flowers fresh. Aspirin contains a compound called salicylic acid, which is mildly antibacterial.

Crush an aspirin tablet up and stir it into the vase water when you change it. But some flowers don’t like aspirin. If yours start to droop. dump the water out.

Should I use the packet of flower food that came with my bouquet?

Maybe. The packets provide food, so your flowers look vibrant but that food also promotes bacterial growth, so they’ll wilt sooner. Try my homemade flower food recipe instead.

Homemade Flower Food for Fresh Bouquets

Sugar helps your flowers stay vivid and bright, while vinegar helps control bacteria so your flowers stay fresh longer.
Type of RecipeMiscellaneous
Use Asliquid
Keywordsflowers
Print This

Equipment and Materials

  • 1 Vase squeaky clean

Supplies

  • 8 ounces room temperature water
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar

Steps

  1. Add the water to your vase.
  2. Add the vinegar and sugar and stir until it's dissolved.
  3. Add your freshly trimmed flowers.
  4. Replace the water daily, washing your vase each time and trimming the stems of your flowers by 1 inch at an angle under running water.

Enjoy your beautiful bouquet and keeping those gorgeous flowers fresh longer. And if anyone’s curious: Casa Blanca Lilies are my faves.

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