It’s always so nice to have fresh flowers in the house but they never last quite as long as we wish they would. Luckily, there are some really effective things you can do to make a significant difference and make your cut flowers last longer than they usually do. Today I’m sharing some of my very favourite tricks!
Whether you pick up a little bouquet of tulips from the grocery store, or you gather flowers from your own garden to bring inside, fresh flowers always make such a huge difference in a room and we all wish that we could make our cut flowers last longer. Even though I have cats that love to nibble on my flowers, and it takes a little extra effort to deter them, I’m always so happy to have flowers in the house whenever I find myself with an excuse to bring some in. Like, say, if it’s a Tuesday. 🙂
I picked up this little bunch of tulips the other day at the grocery store and they just seemed to be particularly ready to have their picture taken, so I thought I’d talk about a few things that we can all do to make our flowers last a little longer indoors. If you have any favorite old tricks that you swear by, I’d love to hear about those as well!
How to Make Cut Flowers Last Longer
Here are some of the rules that I like to follow.
Feed the Flowers!
You know that little packet of powder that comes with your flowers from the grocery store? Use it! It really does help to give your flowers a nice boost. If your flowers didn’t come with any flower food, or if you’re just using flowers from your own garden, use a little white sugar instead! About a tablespoon per quart of water should be the right amount. Also, if you have it in the house, a mixture of about 1/3 lemon-lime soda to 2/3 water provides flowers with the perfect amounts of acid and sugar to keep them happy. So there are lots of options to feed your flowers!
Keep it Cool
Try to keep your flowers as cool as possible in every way. I’m not saying you have to keep them in the fridge at all times, but within reason you want to keep your flowers as cool as possible. Use cold water in your vases, keep them away from windows, and don’t place them on any surfaces that get sunlight directly on them.
Remove Underwater Leaves
Leaves in your vase water can turn the water murky and start the process of decay a little more quickly so remove any leaves that will be underwater once your flowers are in their vase. The exception to this rule is with long leaves, like those on a tulip. If the leaf will be partially underwater, but a large part of the top portion of the leaf will be out of the water, then I leave them on without any issues. You want to remove as few leaves as possible while still keeping the leaves out of the water so you’re not tearing into the flower any more than you have to.
Cut on the Diagonal and Re-Cut Daily
When it comes to cutting your flower stems down to be the right size for your vase, cut them diagonally to allow as much surface area for absorbing water as possible. Re-cut daily to keep the stems drinking!
Change the Water Daily
When you make your cuts each day (or every second day should be fine too), make sure you give your flowers fresh food and water! This helps if there are any hints of murky-ness forming and allows any bacteria that may cause your flowers to decay prematurely to be washed away.
Tulips like these will continue to grow a couple of inches after they’ve been cut, so definitely trim them liberally when you do your daily cutting. Keeping them short will keep your arrangement looking tidier for longer. When the stems start to get a little overgrown, it can make an arrangement look like it’s starting to get old and wilty even when the flowers are really still perfectly fresh.
One more little tip that I just learned! It’s daffodil season here right now so this is particularly good timing for this one. Did you know that daffodils have a chemical in them that makes other flowers go bad more quickly? I’ve never had the chance to learn this because I’ve always just displayed daffodils on their own in a vase, but it’s true! So definitely keep the daffodils to their own container when you’re arranging flowers.
What other tips have you learned to make cut flowers last longer?
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Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.