How to Keep Fresh Cut Flowers Alive Longer- Tips From a Pro Florist

How to Keep Fresh Cut Flowers Alive Longer- Tips From a Pro Florist

A fresh bouquet of flowers is guaranteed to brighten any room or add a finishing touch to a special occasion. Unfortunately, with some bouquets, the joy can be short-lived and the flowers wilt and die after only a few days.

At Thatch and Roses, we work with the best and freshest blooms, but we still have to take precautions to ensure our bouquets last long enough to be enjoyed. When our flowers leave our studio to come to your home, we know they’re in superb condition. But we’ve also developed a simple set of steps that will allow our customers to extend the life of their precious blooms and enjoy them for many days to come.


Six Steps to Fresher Flowers for Longer

These simple steps will help you get the best out of your cut flowers and ensure they last as long as possible:

  1. Choose the best florist – No matter how well you care for them, some bouquets will last longer than others. The first thing you can do to guarantee longer-lasting flowers is to be selective with where you get them from. Well-regarded local florists, like Thatch and Roses, will be able to provide the freshest, top-quality blooms. They can also offer you specific care advice for certain varieties and even freshly prepare bouquets for your special occasion.
  2. Trim the stems at a 45° angle – As you transfer your bouquet into an appropriate vase, you must trim the base of each stem to a 45° This allows the stem to draw up more water and prevents the flowers from drooping as they age. Repeating this process again four or five days later will also help to improve the flowers’ water uptake and contribute to extending their life.
  3. Fill the vase with cool water from the tap – Cool water can have a reviving effect on flowers, particularly if they’ve just endured a warm car journey to reach your home. This will ensure they have enough to drink while also helping them look crisp, clean and at their best.
  4. Change the water every other day – Letting flower water sit for a week or two is a recipe for disaster. It gets mouldy, smelly and can cause your beautiful flower to wither and droop prematurely. Emptying the vase and refilling it with fresh cool water every other day will give your blooms a boost and give them a chance at living their best (and longest) life.
  5. Keep your flowers away from draughts, radiators and direct sunlight – While a little bit of sunlight is fine for most flowers, prolonged exposure can be extremely damaging. If your flowers are always in full sunlight, they will dry out quickly, the colours may fade and they will likely wilt faster. Changes in temperature from draughts and radiators can also dry them out or make them age more quickly. If you bear this in mind when choosing where to display your blooms, you’ll get the best out of them for much longer.
  6. When possible, keep cut flowers in the cool – The best tool florists have to keep flowers at their freshest is the cold. Cold water and refrigerators can keep flowers looking like the day they were picked and can extend their life by several days. While this isn’t as easy in your own home, the cooler the room the longer the flowers will last.


How Long Do Cut Flowers Stay Fresh?

A good quality bunch of cut flowers from a florist should last for at least 7 days. If you care for them correctly, trim the stems and keep the water fresh you will likely be able to extend their life and keep them fresh between 10-14 days.

Will flowers keep in the fridge for 3 days?

If you’re lucky enough to have a refrigeration area large enough to store flowers you should be able to keep them for between 1 to 3 days. If they’re freshly cut at the point of chilling, they should then last for at least a further 7 days once you remove them from the fridge.

Is it ok to buy flowers the day before a wedding or special occasion?

If you’re planning on purchasing flowers for a special occasion, it’s best to buy them or have them delivered on the day. This will ensure they look their best when they’re gifted or displayed. However, if you can’t buy them on the day, getting them the day before should be fine. If you have a large fridge, chiller or sheltered outside area, keeping them overnight at a temperature between 2 °C and 8 °C is ideal.

Do flowers last longer in water or floral foam?

With proper maintenance and care, cut flowers should last for a similar length of time in water or floral foam (Oasis). Which you choose will likely depend on the look you’re trying to achieve. A vase filled with water is easy to set up, maintain and refresh, whereas floral foam will take longer to set up but provides a firmer, more stable arrangement.


What Makes Cut Flowers Last Longer?

At Thatch and Roses, we take a simple and effective approach to keeping cut flowers fresh for longer. In our experience fresh water, diagonally cut stems and a cool room is more than enough to prolong the life of your favourite bouquet, but there are lots of other weird and wonderful recommendations out there.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the other things people recommend to keep cut flowers fresh:

Does sugar help flowers last longer?

Adding a teaspoon of sugar to your vase will likely help your flowers last one or two days longer. This is because it acts as a nutrient for the plant. However, a much better option is to use a professionally prepared nutrient powder.

Does baking soda make flowers last longer?

A teaspoon of baking soda in your flower water will act as a fungicide and prevent the growth of mould. This will help keep the flowers fresh and prevent the water from getting smelly. In most cases, keeping the water fresh by changing it every other day is a more effective way of keeping the vase fresh.

Does ice water keep flowers fresh?

Ice water can be an excellent way to keep cut flowers looking crisp and fresh. Ice water hydrates the flowers, slows down decay and slows the growth of bacteria and mould. However, it can shock or damage some more delicate varieties, so we recommend using cool water from the tap.

Does vinegar make flowers last longer?

Adding a splash of vinegar to your flower water makes it acidic and prevents the growth of bacteria mould and fungus. This could make your flowers last one or two days longer, but a better option is to regularly change the water and add a good flower nutrient powder.

Does aspirin help keep flowers alive?

Some florists claim that aspirin extends the life of cut flowers by lowering the pH of the water, letting it flow faster up the stem. Some flower owners swear by this method but there is no scientific evidence to determine if it works.

Does bleach make flowers last longer?

A small amount of bleach added to water (about a ¼ of a teaspoon per litre) is an effective way of killing bacteria and preventing mould growth. This prevents the flowers from drooping or dying prematurely and is likely to extend their life by a few days.

Is hydrogen peroxide good for cut flowers?

Hydrogen peroxide can be added to your flower water (2 tablespoons of 3% hydrogen peroxide per litre). It acts in a similar way to bleach and vinegar, extending the life of your flowers by killing any mould or bacteria in the vase or on the stems.

Does ibuprofen help flowers last longer?

Because aspirin is occasionally used to extend the life of cut flowers, it’s understandable that you might think ibuprofen might work too. However, there is no evidence or even anecdotes to suggest that it can make any difference to your flowers.

Is vodka good for cut flowers?

If you can spare a small amount of vodka, it could likely extend the life of your cut flowers. As long as you use a small amount, vodka is likely to have a preserving effect on the flowers that may slow their decay. But too much could kill them, so only attempt this if you have a reliable shot measurement and a steady hand.

Does putting a penny in a vase help flowers?

Older 1p coins, made before 1992 were made with up to 97% copper. When placed in water with your flowers the copper will have an antifungal and anti-bacterial effect. This could add a couple of days to the life of your bouquet. Newer 1p coins may not be as effective because they’re minted in steel and only have a thin copper coating. Instead of going to the trouble of finding a pre-1992 1p coin, changing the water every other day is a much better method of keeping your flowers fresh.




Which Flowers Last the Longest?

To increase the chances that your bouquet will last for weeks instead of days you could choose flowers that are known for staying fresh for longer:


These beautifully versatile blooms come in a range of shapes and sizes. They look great on their own but also work well in large mixed bouquets. Given the correct care, most chrysanthemums will last at least three weeks or even longer.


Carnations are stunning flowers with a wonderfully romantic appearance. Often the star of the show, they can be paired with a range of similarly shaped flowers or standard filler blooms. They will likely last for more than two weeks and if you’re careful they could reach three.


With their wonderfully dense head of petals, zinnias are guaranteed to bring joy to any heart. They’re not as long-lasting as chrysanthemums or carnations but you’ll get nearly two weeks out of them with enough care.


Lillies are always a great choice for their large, elegant blooms. If you buy lilies when their flowers are still unopened, they’ll bloom over the next few days and will give you about two weeks of joy.

Alstroemeria (Peruvian Lily/Lily of the Incas)

These small lily-like flowers provide a beautiful range of colours with more than a touch of sophistication. Each stem comes with lots of brightly coloured flowers, making them a popular choice for bouquets. Because some blossoms will take longer to open, you’ll get at least two weeks before these beauties fade.



With so many extraordinary suggestions online on how to extend the life of your cut flowers, it is hard to know what to do for the best. At Thatch and Roses when we want our blooms to last, we don’t dig out the vinegar or start pouring vodka, we keep it simple; keep your flowers cool, trim their stems and refresh the water every other day.



Do cut flowers last longer in warm or cold water?

Cut flowers last much longer in cold water than in warm water. A short submersion in ice water will make flowers look fresher and crisper. Keeping the stems in cool water long-term is an excellent way to help cut flowers last longer.

Is tap water ok for flowers?

Standard UK tap water is an excellent choice for most cut flowers. There’s no need to filter it or attempt to clean it in any way. Filling your vase straight from the cold tap is the best method; however, if you want to give your flowers an even better chance, add a sachet of cut flower nutrients.

Should you spray water on cut flowers?

Misting your flowers with fresh water does make them look a little fresher, but it won’t have any long-term effect on their lifespan. You’re better off changing their water regularly (every other day) and trimming their stems at a 45° angle every few days.

What can I add to flower water to keep it fresh?

To keep your flower water fresh, you don’t need to add anything, the best option is to empty it out and replace it every other day.

Does boiling water revive cut flowers?

Some florists use nearly boiling water to revive some varieties of woody stemmed flowers. But in most situations, it’s not recommended and could damage or even kill your blooms. The best way to revive drooping flowers safely is to trim their stems at a 45° angle and place them in a vase of clean, cool tap water.

How often should you change the water in a flower vase?

Changing the water in your flower vase every other day will prevent any build-up of mould and keep your flowers looking fresh for longer.

There are several ways you could kill your cut flowers. Adding too much of substances like bleach, vodka or vinegar to the water will quickly cause them to droop and die. Also, keeping them near ripe fruit such as bananas will expose them to ethylene gas and could speed up their ageing process.

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