Keeping My Flowers Alive

Updated on February 27, 2008
C.H. asks from Hephzibah, GA
6 answers

My wonderful husband brought me home a vase of beatutiful flowers yesturday (for no reason, the best kind) and I was wondering if anyone could tell me how I can keep them living longer. Ive already added asprin to the water and I know it helps to keep the water cold but what else can I do?

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So What Happened?

Thanks for all ur advice, Ive been cutting the stems and changing the water and it has helped so far.

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answers from Jacksonville on

I worked in a florist for approx 3 years with a wonderful MAN who had been in the business for over 50 years. He was extremely conscious about NOT selling "old" flowers. We had daily deliverys and once the flowers had been in our shop for 7 days, he would no longer use them in arrangements to sell to the public. I became very adept at keeping flowers fresh. My dear neighbor used to visit shut ins and I would use these "old" flowers for the shut-ins.
TIP #1: The cut. Most flowers get their nutrients from the stem. Every 3-4 days cut the stems in a 90 degree angle using a knife. (Always make sure you are cutting away from your body.) Some flowers (especially some brand of roses) have extremely tough stems. If you must, you can use a pair of shears, but ... sometimes this crushes the stem and the flower cannot get the nutrients. Put the freshly cut flowers in fresh water. You can purchase packets of preservatives from your local grocery florists very inexpensively or ... a craft store. There are many different brands but for home use most of them are the same. (My employer insisted on one professional brand that you cannot purchase OTC.) If you cannot find the preservative, use plain cold water. If the water is too cold, it will cause the flowers not to fully bloom.
TIP #2: Greenery. "Leather-leaf" which is the greenery most florists get their nutrients from their leaves - not stems. Spray the greenery with a spray bottle. Try not to spray the fresh flowers as it will damage them.
TIP #3: Carnations and, believe it or not, Roses last the longest. You can dip a small (q-tip size wad) cotton ball wad into preservative or just plain COLD water and using a toothpick shove down in the middle of the carnation. This will preserve them for a month or more. Always remove the yellow stems from lillies the minute you get them. (Some florists leave them in and the lillies will shrivel very quickly.) If the lillies are still closed, remove them when they open.

As you cut the flowers they obviously will get shorter so sometimes you have to use a shorter vase. With large arrangements, it is sometimes easier after the first couple cuts to arrange into 2 or 3 separate arrangements. HAVE FUN!!!

There are many more tips, but ... this answer is long enough and I don't know what kind of flowers are in your arrangement.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chattanooga on

When I had my bed and breakfast we would use a couple of drops of clorox and some sugar to keep our arrangements looking fresh. We used this on fresh flowers from the garden and arrangements from the florist.
Have a blessed day,



answers from Knoxville on

My mom kept a bouquet I bought her alive for two months by not only monitoring the level of water but cutting a 1/4 inch off the ends every few days. She doesn't put aspirin in the water but sugar. You could also ask your local florist. And wow, don't we wish we all had a thoughtful man like yours. Kudos to you!



answers from Nashville on

Did you cut the bottoms off of them, at an angle, and replace them, immediately, in cold water? That is what I have found works best for my flowers



answers from Savannah on

When I was a copywriter, one of our clinets was a flower farm.

1) The most important thing to do is recut the stems while keeping the stem-ends under water. Cutting on a diagonal increases the surface area from which the flowers can absorb water up. Once you have made the cut under water, immediately move the stem to the water-filled vase.

2) Remove all foliage that will be underwater. Underwater foliage will rot quite quickly, allowing bacteria to grow in the water and these in turn reduce the bouquet’s bloom time.

3) Changing the water daily (at the very least every second to third day) to reduce the water bacterial counts. Each time you change the water, do snip a short bit off the end of each stem (underwater) – this will further extend the life of the cut flower.

4) Floral preservative is good stuff for flowers. Ususally bouquets come with a sachet of the stuff. It contains anti-bacterial water conditioners along with flower food and acidifying agents. Failing that, adash of clear sugar-based drink like Sprite will work.

5) Aspirins, contrary to what everyone says, don’t do anything for cut flowers.

6) Any carnations in there? They're very toxic to other flowers.

7) Don't put the vase in a hot/sunny spot.



answers from Macon on

I've always cut the tip off at an angle in cool running water. I'd add a small amount of 7-up/sprite a tablespoon or so, it helps keep them fresh longer. But I was also told that if you sear the tips in a pan after you trim them it helps keep the moisture in...good luck!

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