How to Keep Fresh Flowers Longer

What helps cut flowers stay fresh longer? Here are six tips to help your bouquets stay beautiful.

1. Make sure your flowers are fresh to begin with.
If you purchase fresh flowers for yourself each week, get them directly from the florist (or a farmer's market). You don't want flowers that have been sitting in storage for several days before you even get them. If you are cutting and preparing your bouquet yourself, get your vase and water ready ahead of time so that you can get the flowers into water immediately.

2. Choose the proper vase.
Your container or vase should be tall enough so that three or four inches of the stems are covered with water, with a few extra inches for extra support. Trim your stems to fit the size of your vase. The most important thing, though, is the vase's cleanliness. Clean your vase completely because any bacteria (from previous flower's for example) will cause your flowers to age too soon. Also, make sure to rinse out all of the soap so it won't damage your cut flowers.

3. Trim the stems.
Fill your kitchen sink with cool water. Holding the stems under the level of the water, trim them with sharp scissors. You'll want to make the cut diagonal in order to increase the surface area that is exposed to the water. This will let the flowers take in more water.

4. Get your vase ready.
Fill your vase with enough warm water that it covers three to four inches of the stems. You can then mix in the special plant food that sometimes comes with your flowers – or use aspirin. Simply crush two uncoated aspirin and stir in the water. Make sure you stir in the plant food or aspirin completely before you add the flowers.

5. Take off the leaves.
When leaves from the flowers are submerged in the water, they contribute to the development of bacteria, which can really shorten the lifetime of your flowers. Remove any leaves that will be below the water level in your vase. And if any leaves fall into the water, make sure to remove them right away.

6. Keep your vase clean.
Remove the flowers and add fresh water (and aspirin or plant food) as often as once each day. It's important to switch out the water at least every 3 days to keep the flowers fresh. If you see a layer of scum beginning to develop at the water level, remove the flowers and clean the vase with a mild soap. Just make sure to get rid of all of the soapy residue before putting the flowers back into the vase.

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