How to Keep Flowers Alive in a Vase


As soon as fresh flowers have been cut, they can no longer take in water and nutrients through the roots. Make certain they live longer by replenishing the water supply as soon as possible. Put cut flowers in fresh water right away and give them the right amount of attention to increase their life in a vase. It doesn't matter if you cut the flowers from your own garden or bring them home from a store--the care is the same.

Caring for Cut Flowers

Step 1

Fill a flower vase two-thirds full with lukewarm water. It is best to use water that is distilled or that has been sitting at room temperature overnight, although it is okay to use warm water from a faucet. If flower food came with your cut flowers, add it now. If you don't have flower food, dissolve 1 tsp. of sugar into the water. This will help replace the nutrients the cut flower needs to live longer.

Step 2

Cut the ends of your flowers at an angle if you are picking them straight out of the garden. Remove any foliage that would be submerged in the water. If the flowers were purchased at a store, cut them again when you get home. Run water over the ends. This will allow the flowers to soak up the most moisture so they can live longer.

Step 3

Plunge the stems of your flowers into the vase filled with water as soon as they have been cut. The longer your flowers are removed from their water source, the sooner they will die. Fill the vase up to just below the top of the rim so the majority of the stem is submerged in water. Some water will be absorbed through the stem.

Step 4

Water your cut flowers every day. Do not empty the water in the vase when you water them, but add fresh, lukewarm water to the existing water to bring the level back up to just below the rim of the vase.

Step 5

Add flower food or an acidifier. Add 2 tbsp. of lemon juice to the water to prolong the color of the flowers. You can also add 1 cup of a carbonated beverage to the water instead of lemon juice. Use a clear carbonated beverage, rather than a cola, to keep the water looking fresh.

Tips and Warnings

  • Keep cut flowers away from fruit, which emits a gas that makes flowers die sooner..

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Vase
  • Scissors or sharp knife
  • Flowers


  • University of Minnesota: Keeping Cut Flowers and Flowering Plants
  • CBS News: Flower Power: Keeping Them Alive Longer
  • Colorado State University: Keep Valentine Flowers Fresh Longer

Who Can Help

  • Mama's Health: How to Take Care of Freshly Cut Flowers
  • Floral Craft Resource: Flower Arranging Ideas
Keywords: cut flower life, cut flower care, cut flower survival, cut flower health

About this Author

Bobbie Brewer has been writing since 1990. Her work has appeared in publications and on Web sites including Garden Guides and Trails. Brewer is an international traveler, outdoors enthusiast and has been gardening since 1991. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from California State University, Sacramento.