How to Take Care of Cut Flowers

Tulip bouquet image by Bartosz Borecki/


Cut flower arrangements bring the sight and scent of the outdoors into your home. Whether you are displaying purchased blooms or those from your own garden, keep them looking their best for the longest time possible. Certain blooms, such as gerbera daisy, survive longer in a vase than others. All flowers benefit from proper care after cutting and the right methods will keep your bouquets looking their best for several days to two or more weeks.

Step 1

Choose flowers with healthy leaves and little to no browning on their petals. Check each stem for partly opened buds as well as already open flowers. The more partly opened buds, the longer the flower will be displayable. Cut flower varieties with a single bloom per stem when the petals are fully open.

Step 2

Cut flowers first thing in the morning when the stems feel firm and are full of water. Cut the stem with a sharp knife or garden shears at a 45-degree angle, then place right into a bucket of water.

Step 3

Fill a vase with warm water, except for bulb flower varieties--they prefer cold.

Step 4

Place a cut flower preservative into the water and mix thoroughly. Make your own preservative by mixing 1 tsp. sugar, 1 tsp. bleach and 2 tsp. lemon juice into 1 quart of warm water.

Step 5

Trim off any leaves that will be below the water level in the vase for each flower stem. Cut the stems to the proper length at a 45-degree angle while holding them underwater in the bucket. Quickly transfer them to the vase.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never use household scissors to cut flowers because these will collapse the stem so it can't take in water. Never place cut flowers near ripening fruit, as this causes them to wilt.

Things You'll Need

  • Bucket
  • Knife
  • Shears
  • Preservative


  • Brooklyn Botanical Garden
Keywords: cut flower care, flower arrangements, maintaining bouquets

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.

Photo by: Bartosz Borecki/