How to Keep Flowers Fresh


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.

Step 1

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.

Step 2

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.

Step 3

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.

Step 4

Trim off broken or wilted buds or leaves. Leaving these attached will drain the flowers, causing them to age more quickly.

Step 5

Dump out the water when it gets cloudy and repeat step 1.

Tips and Warnings

  • If you have a soft water system, draw the water from a tap or faucet that does not have soft water, such as an outside faucet.

Things You'll Need

  • Gardening shears
  • Floral preservative


  • Colorado State University Cooperative Extension: Keep Valentine's Flowers Fresh Longer
  • Michigan Dept. Agriculture: Make Those Michigan Flowers Last and Last!
  • K-State Media Relations and Marketing: Keeping the Love Alive with Flowers
Keywords: care of fresh flowers, keep cut flowers fresh, make fresh flowers last

About this Author

Ann Johnson has been a freelance writer since 1995. She previously served as the editor of a community magazine in Southern California and was also an active real estate agent, specializing in commercial and residential properties. She has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University of Fullerton.