How to Keep Fresh Cut Flowers Alive


One of the benefits of a flower garden is the ability to adorn your home with fresh-cut flowers. But many gardeners are reluctant to take pruning shears to their flower beds because once they're in the vase, flowers have a limited lifespan. However, there are a few techniques that will prolong the life of fresh-cut flowers.

Step 1

Clean your vase thoroughly. This will kill any existing fungi or bacteria that may limit the lifespan of your blooms.

Step 2

Fill the vase with bottled water that has been heated to just above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Measure the temperature with a thermometer, or gauge it with your hand. Water at this temperature should be warm to the touch, but not intolerably hot.

Step 3

Add a preservative to the water. Flower preservatives help blooms absorb water more efficiently, provide them with nutrients and prevent bacteria growth. You can either purchase a small packet of preservative from a florist or gardening center, or you can make your own. A homemade preservative consists of 1 tablespoon of sugar and one-quarter teaspoon of bleach per quart of water. Add an additional one-quarter teaspoon of bleach every four days.

Step 4

Cut the flowers. Choose blooms that are just beginning to open and cut them at an angle early in the morning when the stems are full of nutrients.

Step 5

Remove any leaves at the base of the stem that would be submerged in water once it is placed in the vase.

Step 6

Place the flowers in the water as soon as possible after cutting them. Periodically check the bottom of your stems once you have placed them in water. If you notice air bubbles at the bottom of their stems, which prevent the flowers from absorbing water efficiently, re-cut the flowers while they are under water or under a running tap.

Step 7

Display the flowers in a place that does not receive a lot of heat, which will cause the blooms to wilt. Avoid placing them on sunny windowsills, on top of televisions or by heaters. You might consider placing the flowers in the refrigerator in the evenings when no one is enjoying them.

Things You'll Need

  • Bottled water
  • Thermometer
  • Commercial flower preservative or sugar and bleach


  • Cut Flowers
  • University of California: Extend the Life of Your Cut Flowers
Keywords: fresh cut flowers, keep cut flowers longer, flower preservative

About this Author

Emma Gin is a freelance writer who specializes in green, healthy and smart living. She is currently working on developing a weight-loss website that focuses on community and re-education. Gin is also working on a collection of short stories, because she knows what they say about idle hands.