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Florist Hacks: How to Keep Flowers Fresh

Who doesn’t love receiving fresh flowers?

They provide colour and vibrancy to your room, as well as a charming touch to any decor, and make the ideal gift for someone special or even yourself.

That said, keeping cut flowers alive is something most of us have trouble with.

So, if you’re looking for flower care tips to help your flowers last longer, you’ve come to the right place! Flower Cart has this easy guide to keeping fresh cut flowers alive for longer.

Picking the Right Vase for Your Fresh Cut Flowers

Fresh Cut Flowers

This may seem obvious to some people, but the type of vase you use for your cut flowers really makes a difference. Just because the florist gives you a bouquet of long-stemmed gerberas doesn’t mean you should put them in a tall vase!

For your cut flower arrangement to last as long as possible, you’ll need the right size vase or container. The goal is to ensure that the clipped stems fit comfortably into the mouth.

Larger, heavier blooms should be clipped short and placed in a low vase where the blooms are supported and spread out when they open, whilst lighter, more fragile flowers should be kept in a taller vase.

When choosing your vase, make sure that the flowers have room to shine.

If your vase’s mouth is too broad, your arrangement will lack form and structure. Meanwhile, if your flowers’ stems appear crowded or even squashed, that means the entrance is too tiny.

If the vase you picked turns out too full, you can always make two bouquets out of one. Remove some of the stems to create a more petite bouquet, or find a bigger vase to use.

Preparing Your Fresh Flowers

cut the stems and re-trim so flowers last longer (1)

Trim the Stems

Before putting any bouquet in water, you should trim part of the stem off. If you purchased an arrangement from a professional florist, the flowers should already be cut and ready to be placed in a clean vase.

That said, you should still cut stems every 2-3 days after the original cut to ensure that your cut flowers remain rot-free.

Trim 2 to 4 cm off from the bottom of each stem at a 45-degree angle. The best tool for this job is garden shears, although a pair of sharp scissors or a sharp, clean knife would suffice.

Because the stems aren’t sitting flat on the bottom of the vase, cutting them at an angle allows for better water uptake. The more the flowers absorb water, the longer you can keep your flowers!

Pro tip:

With flowers that have woody stems, like chrysanthemums, instead of cutting at an angle, cross-cut the stems at the base to a depth of 3 to 4cm.

no foliage below vase water line

Prune Extra Leaves

Remove any additional leaves at the base of the stem that rest below the waterline of your container.

By removing excess vegetation, you prevent bacterial growth, thus allowing the water to remain clear, clean and odour-free for longer. When your cut flowers aren’t using up their energy to fight off bacterial growth, they can concentrate on keeping the main bloom alive for longer.

Keeping Your Cut Flowers Fresher for Longer

a few drops of preservative to keep flowers fresh longer

First and foremost, make sure your container is clean and fill it two-thirds of the way with fresh, cold water.

Next, consider the use of preservatives to keep your cut flowers alive for as long as possible. Flowers are deprived of important nutrients when they are cut off from the main plant. Thus, to extend the life of your cut flowers, you’ll need a preservative or flower food/plant food.

Flower food requires three components to help cut flowers thrive: carbohydrates, biocides, and acidifiers.

  • Carbohydrates are required for cell metabolism
  • Biocides fight germs and are required for plant health
  • Acidifiers lower the pH of the water to improve water intake

DIY Flower Food

Homemade preservatives can be just as effective as store-bought ones. Our tried and true way of making flower food consists of ingredients that you can find easily at home!

  • 1 tablespoon of sugar OR 1/4 cup lemon-lime soda.
  • 1 teaspoon bleach OR a few drops of clear spirit (vodka etc)
  • 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, lemon OR lime juice
  • 1 litre room temperature water

Once combined, use this mixture as the vase water for your arrangement.

Some guides suggest adding a copper penny to the vase water. Copper has antibacterial properties that act as both a biocide and acidifier. However, copper coins are not currently in mint anymore.

Water Wisely

Water Wisely

Your cut flowers will last longer if they are kept in fresh, clean water.

Remove the flowers from the vase every two days or so and replace the water. Clean the vase with warm water before filling it two-thirds full with fresh, cold water that contains flower food.

Make sure to clear decaying foliage from your flowers daily. This is a particularly important step when you have mixed bouquets, such as the ones you will get for birthdays, which may contain various species of other flowers that bloom at different times.

Pro Tip:

Putting your flower arrangement in the fridge overnight, as many florists do, will help your flowers last longer. While this may be tough depending on the size of the bouquet, it is a clever tip that will keep your flowers fresh longer, particularly during hot Singapore days!

Find a Good Spot to Keep Your Flowers Fresh

flowers last longer away from direct sunlight in low temperatures

The best and easiest flower care tips are the placement of your vase arrangement. The key is to avoid direct sunlight, heat, draughts, and fruit!

Cut flowers last longer in a cool area with indirect sunlight.

Open windows, direct air conditioning and ceiling fans should all be avoided because they can quickly dehydrate the flowers. You should also avoid placing your bouquet near ripening fruits, which generate tiny amounts of ripening gas (ethylene).

Ethylene gas causes buds to close, petals to fade, and flowers to have a shorter vase life. Cut carnations are most vulnerable to this gas, although one apple won’t harm an entire bouquet. Just make sure your flowers aren’t next to a big bowl of fruit!

Get Your Fresh Flowers from!

Now that you know how to keep your cut flowers fresh longer, why don’t you test your skills with one of our beautiful bouquets?

Can’t wait to get your hands on some blooms?

Not to worry – Flower Cart has 24-hour delivery!

If you place your order before 12pm, you may be entitled to free same-day shipping as well.

We can’t wait to share the joy of flowers with you.

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