Purchasing fresh cut flowers can put a dent in your budget. However, sometimes it is the perfect purchase for the occasion, whether it is for a gift, a holiday table or as a winter uplift for yourself. It only makes good sense to extend the life of cut flowers for as long as possible. Even when you cut flowers for free from your own flower garden, it's worth extending their life to enjoy them for as long as possible.
Cut flowers from your own garden in the early morning or evening, while temperatures are at their coolest. Take a bucket of warm water and garden clippers with you. As you snip off each bloom at an angle, place it in the warm water immediately. For purchased flowers, fill your sink with warm water and place the stems in it as soon as you get home. Re-cut the flowers about an inch from the bottom, also at an angle, under the water.
Leave the flowers in the warm water while you work on them. Estimate where the stems will hit at the rim of the vase in which you will place the flowers. Remove all leaves and stems below that point. Excess foliage below the water line can cause bacteria to form, shortening the flower's life.
Add floral preservative to the vase. Generally, a packet of preservative is included with your purchased flowers. You also can buy it at garden centers and nurseries. It may be referred to as a biocide, because it destroys bacteria, yeast and fungi that harm the flowers and hasten their demise.
Fill the vase with water and arrange the flowers to your liking. Change the water in the vase every couple of days, adding additional floral preservative each time.
Place the vase away from windows with direct sunlight coming through. At night, move the cut flowers to the coolest room in the house.
Remove expired blooms right away. The dead flowers emit a noxious gas that is harmful to the other living flowers.