Be they freshly cut from your own garden or a special gift from a loved one, a bouquet of fresh flowers adds color and atmosphere to the indoor environment. But the beauty of cut flowers can often be fleeting, and after a few days, the petals will begin to drop, and the flower will wilt. With proper conditioning, however, the life of cut flowers can be extended several more days.
Cut flowers early in the morning when they are well-hydrated and will last longer. Take a bucket of water with you, and put the cut flowers in the bucket immediately. If the flowers are boxed or packaged, remove them from the packaging and place them in water.
Fill the bucket with warm water (about 110 degrees Fahrenheit) and stir in a packet of floral preservative. Remove all leaves that will be under the water. Put the flowers in the container and place the container in a cool room for two to three hours. The stems will take up moisture very quickly as the water cools.
Scrub a vase with a mixture of one part household bleach and 10 parts hot water. Rinse the vase in clear water several times to be sure the bleach is completely removed.
Fill the clean vase with cool water, and add a packet of floral preservative. Arrange the cut flowers in the vase.
Place the vase away from drafts, air conditioners, sunlight, heating vents or warm appliances. Moving the vase into a cool room at night, such as an unheated room or basement, will preserve the flowers a few days longer. Don't put the flowers in the refrigerator, and don't put them where the temperature will drop below 35 degrees Fahrenheit.
Replace the water in the vase every other day, adding a packet of fresh floral preservative each time. Before you replace the flowers, place the stems in a large container of water and--with the stems under the water--use kitchen or garden shears to trim about an inch from the bottom of the stem. Make the cut at an angle. Cutting the stems in this manner will allow them to easily take up the fresh water, with no air entering the stems.