How to Keep Fresh Flowers Alive


A cut floral arrangement can add pleasing scents and lively colors to any room, bringing the beauty of nature indoors. As soon as the flowers are cut from the plant, they begin losing their natural energy and perkiness. Several management strategies can help you keep your bouquets looking fresh and vibrant for as long as possible so you can enjoy your cut floral arrangements for many weeks.

Step 1

Clean your vase by scrubbing it with a sponge and water. A dirty vase encourages bacteria growth which plugs the ends of your flower stems and makes them fade and die faster. The University of Illinois suggests filling the vase with water, adding a cap-full of standard household bleach and letting it sit for a few minutes to ensure proper sterilization. Rinse after soaking.

Step 2

Fill the vase half full with water and add a floral preservative mix, available from all floral shops. The University of Minnesota says the preservative mix inhibits bacteria growth and provides the flowers with energy to keep them looking fresh longer.

Step 3

Prepare your cut flowers for the vase. Trim 1/2 inch or more off of the bottom of each flower stem, or as needed to make them the proper height that you want. Hold the stems against the outside of the vase and remove any leaves that will be submerged once the flowers are placed in the vase.

Step 4

Put the flowers in the vase. For the longest floral life, the University of Nebraska recommends putting the vase in an area that's not exposed to direct sunlight and is free from cold or hot drafts. In the evening or when the vase isn't on display, put it in your refrigerator to further extend the flowers' life.

Step 5

Change the water every couple of days, reports the University of Illinois. When replenishing the water, remember to add new floral preservative mix.

Things You'll Need

  • Vase
  • Sponge
  • Water
  • Household bleach (optional)
  • Pruning shears
  • Flowers
  • Floral preservative mix


  • "Specialty Cut Flowers: The Production of Annuals, Perennials, Bulbs and Woody Plants for Fresh and Dried Cut Flowers"; Allan Armitage and Judy Laushman; 2008
  • University of Illinois: Care of Cut Flowers and Foliage
  • University of Illinois: Cut Flower Care
  • University of Minnesota: Keeping Cut Flowers and Flower Plants
  • University of Nebraska: Extend the Life of Cut Flowers
Keywords: cut flower preservation, growing cut flowers, keeping flowers alive

About this Author

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.