How to Cut Flowers to Last Longer in a Vase


Cutting flowers from your garden is an inexpensive way to bring the colors of outdoors into your home. Display the flowers in a vase or other container on a tabletop or mantle. Many types of garden flowers are suitable for cutting. Those that produce long-lasting blooms in the garden are more likely to remain at their peak after being cut. Properly cut flowers that are kept in a vase correctly can last up to two weeks before they need to be replaced.

Step 1

Cut flowers in the morning when the stems are still firm and there is no sign of wilting. Choose flowers that have no tattered leaves or petals and that have buds that are just beginning to open.

Step 2

Fill a small bucket with lukewarm water. Cut the flowers with a sharp knife and immediately place the cut end of the stem in the bucket. This prevents air bubbles from entering the stem, which can lead to premature wilting.

Step 3

Bring the flowers inside and cut the stems down to the desired length. Hold the bottom of the stem underwater and cut it off at a 45-degree angle.

Step 4

Fill a bucket with 90-degree F water and place the cut flowers in it. Set the bucket in a cool room or in the refrigerator for two to four hours. This encourages maximum water uptake by the flowers and extends their life.

Step 5

Fill a vase with water and dissolve a floral preservative in it. Cut off any leaves or thorns on each flower stem that will be beneath the water line. Set the flowers into the vase once they are trimmed.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid using scissors to cut flowers. Even sharp shears tend to pinch the stem closed, inhibiting water uptake.

Things You'll Need

  • Knife
  • Bucket
  • Vase
  • Floral preservative


  • University of California Extension: Extending the Freshness of Cut Flowers at Home
Keywords: cut flower care, keeping flowers fresh, vase arrangements

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." 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.