Skip Navigation

10 Ways to Make Your Fresh Flowers Last Longer

Whether it’s a huge bouquet of your favorite high-end flowers or just a single basic blossom, you want your fresh decoratives to brighten your space and your mood for as long as possible. Unfortunately, not all flowers are created equal, and their longevity—referred to as vase life—varies according to the flower type.

Whatever the vase life, the key to keeping all your flowers looking good for the longest time is care. Here are 10 steps, recommended by the flower care experts at FloraLife, that you can take to ensure maximum vase life.

1. Ask for flower food. If packets of flower food are not included with your fresh flowers, ask for some. If your florist offers more than one, take two or three, which you’ll need as you change the vase water. Professionally developed flower food, rather than any of the various home remedies that can be found online, is the best line of defense against the forces that cause fresh flowers to wilt prematurely.

2. Mix precisely. Read the mixing instructions on the packet. FloraLife’s Crystal Clear flower food packets mix with one pint of water, but other brands may be different. Measure the required amount of water—cool water is best—and mix the packet ingredients until completely dissolved.

3. Use clean containers. Nearly anything that holds water can serve as a container for your flowers. Just rinse thoroughly to make sure your vessels are clean before you pour in your perfectly mixed flower food.

4. Give them a trim. Before you drop your fresh flowers into your containers, trim each stem at least half an inch, but if you have a short vase, you’ll want to trim even more. Often, shorter stems allow flowers to take up water more effectively, and that often leads to longer vase life.

5. Prune the stems. Flowers displayed inside water-filled vases look modern and chic, but those presentations aren’t focused on maximizing vase life. For maximum longevity, you want to keep the water clean, and to do that, you have to remove any leaves and branches that would be under water.

6. Change the water regularly. Every few days, dump the old water, and rinse the vase. If you have additional flower food packets, mix according to instructions, and pour into the vase. If you don’t have any more flower food, just use fresh, cool water.

7. Trim the stems again. It never hurts your flowers to give the stems a fresh cut, so trim another half inch each time you change the water. This should enable the blossoms to continue taking up water effectively.

8. Avoid heat and sunlight. Once flowers are cut, sunlight hurts rather than helps. Your arrangements will last longest if you place them out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources, such as vents.

9. Toss any that are wilting. Because different types of flowers age at different rates, some will begin to wilt before others. Get rid of those that appear to be dying. They may produce gases that will prematurely age the rest of your arrangement. Plus, they don’t look good, so there’s no reason to hang on to them.

10. Keep them cool. Many florists refrigerate their flowers to keep them looking fresh, and, if you have a cool space in your home, you could try that approach too. Every evening, before you head to bed, place your vases in a cool area. Although there is plenty of scientific evidence to show that flowers benefit from cool temps from the moment of harvest to the time of sale, some non-scientific studies have shown that lower temperatures (but never freezing) helps flowers last longer in the home as well.