The Best Way to Keep Cut Flowers Fresh the Longest


Fresh cut flowers are a simple way to brighten up just about any space. Unfortunately, many flowers tend to fade, droop and wilt quickly once they are cut. While choosing flowers that stay fresh for a long time after they are cut, such as daisies and carnations, is one way to make an arrangement last, it isn't the only option. Giving the flowers a little special tender-loving care, no matter what type they are, will help them stay fresh and enjoyable for much longer than flowers simply placed in a vase of water.

Step 1

Remove all of the leaves from the portion of the stems that will be in the water by gently pinching the leaves off. Keeping leaves out of the water will keep dirt and bacteria out of the water, which in turn helps keep the flowers fresh.

Step 2

Fill a vase about 3/4 of the way with water that is just slightly warmer than lukewarm. If you have a candy thermometer, try to get the water as close to 110 degrees as possible.

Step 3

Mix a commercial flower preservative into the water.

Step 4

Cut all of the stems at a 45-degree angle about an inch from the bottom.

Step 5

Place the flowers in the vase immediately after cutting.

Step 6

Set the flowers in a cool place for at least two to three hours. Placing the flowers in warm water and a cool space will "harden" them or allow them to draw in a significant amount of water, keeping them fresh.

Step 7

Keep the flowers out of direct sunlight and away from heat. They should also be kept away from fresh fruit, which emits a hormone that will cause the flowers to wilt sooner. When you're not enjoying the flowers, such as at nighttime, keep them in the refrigerator to make them last longer.

Step 8

Clean the water and re-cut the stems every two or three days. Dump all of the water out, refill the vase, add flower preservative and cut the stems again. Changing the water and cutting the stems regularly will help keep the flowers hydrated and extend their life.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't let the water drop below the bottom of the stems. Add water as often as necessary to keep the vase filled.

Things You'll Need

  • Flower preservative
  • Sharp scissors
  • Candy thermometer (optional)


  • University of Minnesota Extension: Keeping Cut Flowers
Keywords: best way to keep cut flowers fresh, make fresh flowers last longer, keeping cut flowers alive

About this Author

Carlye Jones is a journalist, freelance writer, photographer and novelist, with more than 15 years of experience. She enjoys sharing her expertise on home improvements, interior decorating, photography, gardening and traveling. Her work has appeared both in print and on numerous websites, such as Matador Travel. Carlye received her training at Northern Arizona University.