Whether you buy your flowers from a florist, pick them up at the farmers’ market, or receive them as a gift, it’s easy to keep them fresh and looking beautiful.
Recut all the stems (this includes woody stems such as lilacs or hydrangeas) using sharp scissors or a knife, about an inch from the bottom. Do not pound or smash the stems, despite what you might read elsewhere.
Remove any leaves or flowers that will be below the water line in the vase, so that this material does not rot in the container.
Use only clean vases or other containers, which should be filled at least halfway with water. The ASCFG encourages the proper use and mixing of consumer commercial flower products, which are formulated to provide the best results for your blooms. Be sure to follow the mixing directions on the packets.
“Home remedies” such as adding bleach, soda, or pennies to the vase water have generally proven ineffective in prolonging cut flower life.
Keep your flowers as cool as possible—not in a sunny west window or near a furnace vent. Be sure that they are not near fruit or vegetables; they produce a ripening hormone called ethylene which will make your flowers mature too quickly.
Check your flowers every day and remove flowers past their primes, or dead leaves. Recut stems, composting those beyond salvage, and change the water every three days.