Caring for cut flowers

Centerpiece with hydrangea, roses, stock, and delphinium

If you’re looking to make a selection of flowers that will last, look first towards varieties with hardy or wooden stems. Roses,  carnations, chrysanthemums, alstroemeria and orchids are all great options for flowers with long vase life.  But don’t feel constrained! By following a couple easy steps, you can increase the vase life of any flower you like. 


1. Watch out for debris.

Leaves and other small pieces of floral fallout can cause bacteria to grow in the water. if you see a stray leaf floating on the surface, it’s best to fish it out.


2. Check the water.

Flowers need their water and some flowers are thirstier than others. It’s best to keep an eye on the water levels in your vase. Thirsty flowers, like the hyacinth, benefit from a full vase and an occasional spritz of water from a spray bottle.

Its is also good to change the water every 2-3 days if possible. This isn’t always the easiest thing to do and may be something you would like to consider when selecting a style. Generally, the best way to change water is to slowly tilt the vase until the old water pours out slowly. Refill the vase with fresh water. Most stems are happiest in room-temperature water, but soft stemmed flowers like the tulips like cold water best.

Don’t forget to add some flower food to the fresh water. Flowers need three things: carbohydrates for the flowers metabolism, biocides to maintain health and prevent bacteria, and acidifiers to increase water uptake by adjusting the pH of the water. If you have professional flower food, dissolve the powder in luke warm water before adding it to the vase.  If you don’t have flower food, mix up the following to use instead :

            Homemade Flower Food

  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon household bleach
  • 2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice


3.  Give ’em a fresh cut. 

Making sure that the flowers have a good amount of clean water is a great start. To go all the way in making your flowers last, you can remove the blooms, one by one, and give the stem a fresh cut above any brown that has developed on the end. This clears the way for the flower to drink the maximum amount of water.


4. Watch where put ’em.

Avoid placing your flowers in direct sunlight or near hot lights – these will cause petals to wilt more quickly.


6. Plan your next selection

There will come a point when it’s best to let them go. It’s ok to let flowers die. But if you’d like to save them forever, remove the blooms from the water while they’re still looking pretty good. We found this guide from North Dakota University that lists great ways to preserve your flowers if you’d like.


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Looking for flowers in New York City? Visit our Event Gallery for inspiration. Or see our daily selection at


Author: Starbright Floral Design of NYC

We are a team of dedicated professionals all entering as one. Starbright Floral Design is the company we are all a part of. The Official Florist sometimes is a designer, or a flower buyer, a partner, the marketing department or sometimes the guy who delivered your flowers! We invite you to visit our website and stay in touch...

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