Fresh flowers can be an expensive gift that fades quickly. It is possible to extend the life and enjoyment of a floral arrangement. The same care can be given to the fresh-cut flowers from your backyard. If cared for properly, flowers can be kept fresh longer.
Add warm water to the vase and add a floral preservative, following the instructions on the floral preservative packet. These are typically small packets that come with floral arrangements delivered from the florist. If you don't have a floral preservative, you can use either an aspirin or a little Listerine as a substitution. Both will inhibit bacteria growth, and Listerine has sugar, which the flowers can use as food.
Remove the flowers from the vase and cut 1 to 2 inches from the bottom of the stems. Cut while holding the end of the stem under water to prevent the conducting tubes in the stems from plugging up. Put the flowers back in the water immediately.
Place the flowers in a cool area for several hours to encourage the floral preservative to begin working. Choose an area that is slightly cooler than the average room temperature, such as a basement. Keep the flowers out of the direct sun, away from heat-generating appliances and out of drafts.
Trim off broken or wilted buds or leaves. Leaving these attached will drain the flowers, causing them to age more quickly.
Dump out the water when it gets cloudy and repeat step 1.