How To Keep Cut Flowers Fresh

Nine secrets to keep floral arrangements perky and fragrant.

Goldenrod Fall Flower Arrangement
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

From ranunculus to roses, there's nothing more exciting than being surprised with (or treating yourself to…) a fresh bouquet of flowers. The kind with big, vibrant blooms all bundled together. There's also nothing quite as disappointing as watching the rapid and relentless wilting of said bouquet. So we've gathered our nine favorite tips to preserve fresh-cut flowers so that you can enjoy them for longer. Some are old wives' tales and some are just plain common sense, but these tips and tricks could add a few days to the life of your bouquet. Better start on them now.

Cut stems on the diagonal.

This classic trick is a must before arranging blooms. By cutting the stems diagonally, you increase the surface area at the bottom of the stem, and therefore also the amount of water the flower can drink up.

Check and change the water daily.

This is another obvious but necessary step. The water will get cloudy quickly (read: full of bacteria, yuck). It's really important to change it every day to ensure flowers get the clean water they need to stay healthy.

Get the temperature juuuuust right.

Keep fresh flowers from direct sun and other heat sources. To take it one step further (and make flowers last extra-long), consider putting the arrangement in the fridge overnight. FTD did their own experiment, and this strategy came out as by far the best way to preserve a bouquet. A little chill might just be good for your blooms.

Sprinkle in some lemon-lime soda.

This trick is a handy way to put the remaining soda at the bottom of the bottle to work. According to FTD, adding a little soda to the vase makes the water more acidic, so it can travel up the stem of the flower more quickly. Plus, the sugar from the soda doubles as food for the flower.

Get out that hairspray.

Just as it preserves those perfect curls, a little spritz of the 'spray can make flowers keep their perk as well. Stand back and give the outside petals and leaves a quick once-over.

Stir in apple cider vinegar.

It's true, this pantry staple and seemingly household fix for everything can also be used to preserve a floral arrangement. Again, the sugar serves as flower food, while the vinegar fights bacteria in the water.

Invite them to happy hour.

According to FTD, mixing the flowers' water with a little vodka could help preserve them by halting ethylene production, which is the gas that makes flowers wilt.

Prescribe some aspirin.

Another classic flower-saving stand by: aspirin. According to everyone's grandmother, adding a crushed-up aspirin to the water before the flowers could lower the PH of the water and keep your flowers looking fresh. (Memaw was always right.)

Pay up.

According to old wives' tales, adding a copper penny to the water helps stop the growth of bacteria and therefore preserves the lifespan of the blooms.

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