Nothing beats a bouquet of flowers straight from your own garden, but sadly, even the freshest flowers typically last only a few days before drooping and dropping their petals. You can always use floral preservatives to help extend the life of your cut flowers, but why add artificial chemicals to the equation at this stage of the game?
15 Ways to Keep Cut Flowers Fresh Without Chemicals
To help your flowers stay perky for over a week the organic way, follow these 15 tips.
- 1. Start with the freshest flowers possible.
- 2. If the flowers are from your garden, be sure to cut them early in the morning, but after the dew has dried.
- 3. Make sure that at least some of the flowers are just budding, and are still tightly closed.
- 4. Include naturally long-lasting flowers like chrysanthemums, carnations, and statice.
- 5. Keep the flowers as cool as possible until you can get them into a vase.
- 6. Select a large, capacious vase so the flowers won’t be crowded.
- 7. Clean the vase with hot, soapy water to ensure that it’s sterilized before you add the flowers. Any surviving bacterial or fungal spores will decrease the shelf life of your bouquet.
- 8. Fill the vase with 3-4 inches of tepid water. Any more than that will promote excessive stem decay.
- 9. Remove any foliage that will be below the water line, because it will degrade quickly and encourage bacterial growth. Too much bacterial growth will reduce the stems’ ability to take up water.
- 10. Use a pruner or floral shears to cut 1-2 inches off the ends of the stems. Never use a pair of household scissors, no matter how sharp, because they tend to crush the stems, not cut them cleanly. Crushing encourages bacterial growth.
- 11. Cut at a 45-degree angle underwater for best results; either running or standing water is fine.
- 12. Immediately place the flowers in the vase, and move them out of direct sunlight.
- 13. Keep your flowers away from ripening fruit, because the ethylene gas the fruit emits will make your flowers wilt very quickly.
- 14. To avoid using commercial preservatives, which contain chemical biocides, you’ll need to change the water in the vase every day.
- 15. Be sure to trim the stems every time you change the water, in order to remove decayed segments and limit bacterial buildup. A quarter-inch at a time is fine.
Want to learn more about keeping cut flowers fresh?
Here are more great tips:
Keeping Cut Flowers Fresh from Penn State Extension
PDF: Guide to Choosing, Cutting and Caring for your Fresh Cut Flowers from Delaware State University Cooperative Extension