Storage Tips: Keeping Flowers Fresh

When you bring your beautiful blooms home there’s lots you could be doing to help them last their longest. Here’s some tips from The Farmer’s Almanac about how best to cut em and prep em for the vase:

Preparing Cut Flowers

-Strip all the leaves from the bottom half to two-thirds of each stem. Do not leave any leaves below the water line, as they could rot and ruin the quality of the water.

-Re-cut the stems. Don’t worry about cutting flower stems at an angle if you’re simply arranging them in a vase. It doesn’t make much difference to the flower. But a slanted cut helps if you are using floral foam; a stem with a point is easier to insert.

-If you want to shorten the stems on cut flowers before arranging them, cut their stems underwater; otherwise, the stem can take in too much air, causing a blockage that keeps water from the flower. (This is especially true of roses.) Floral supply companies sell underwater cutters; or you can cut a flower in the garden, immediately submerge the stem in warm water, and cut it again in the house while holding it below the water line.

-Flowers like to be warm and prefer water that is 80° to 110°F. Even spring flowers like warm water. The water in the vase does not need to be maintained at that temperature, but always start cut flowers in warm, not cold, water. And check the water level every day.


As for the little packet you get with your bouquet– if you’re lucky and your blooms hang on for a week you’re going to need to re-up their food supply. There’s lots of ways people swear by: a drop of sugar, some old soda, an aspirin, a penny, a capful of bleach, etc… This person is a chemist who swears by their recipe and as I got a C- in high school chemistry I shall defer to them.


This year I’m trying to make double use of my blooms by taking the spent petals and setting them aside for decorative dried floral mixes. Ya know, as table-top deco for your next summer cocktail soiree or baby shower or highbrow Grindr encounter. Try it out!