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How to Keep Fresh Flowers Alive Longer

If you’ve never used fresh-cut flowers before, we know that taking care of them can seem stressful! Everyone wants to know “how do I keep fresh flowers alive?” While there isn’t a way to keep fresh cut flowers alive forever without preserving them, you can keep them healthier longer quite easily! 

Every box that leaves our farm is shipped with a hydration pack so the blooms can continue drinking during their journey to you. That said, fresh-cut flowers get really thirsty and can drink a lot more than you’d expect, so sometimes the hydration pack is dry by the time it gets to you. This can sometimes cause them to look a little “frustrated” from their journey, but usually all they need is some TLC to perk back up. 

If you’ve ordered any of our flowers online and are having them shipped to you, you’ll want to unpack them as soon as you can. Before you take them out of the box, get your vase (or vases) ready by adding cold water and a sprinkle of flower food. Pro tip: you don’t need to use all of the flower food at once! Save some for when you change your vase water later in the week (more on that to come). I also have a small confession. I don’t think that the flowers really *need* flower food. I don’t put any in my arrangements because, hands down, the best thing you can give your flowers is fresh water.

Next, grab a pair of snips or super sharp scissors (you can find my favorite pair here.) If you have some rubbing alcohol laying around, I’d recommend sanitizing your cutters so you don’t expose your flower stems to any bacteria. Next, you’re going to give your flowers a fresh cut at an angle. Remember that 1-800-Flowers commercial back in the day where they told you to cut them at an angle under running water? There’s merit in that! While I don’t always cut my flowers under running water, I do get them in water within a few seconds of the fresh cut. The idea here is not to allow any air to get into the stems of the flowers. Flower stems are like a straw, and you want to keep that straw full of water and not air or bacteria. 

If you’ve ordered one of our bouquets in a box, you can design your flowers directly into a vase. If you’ve ordered bulk flowers, or a Farmer’s Choice Box, and are going to be using the flowers for a DIY centerpiece or flower arrangement, you’re going to want to allow your flowers to hydrate before you put them to good use. You can hydrate them in several vases or in a bucket, whatever is easiest! 

Whether you’ve vased up your bouquet or are hydrating your flowers, you’ll always want to keep them in a cool place and out of direct sunlight. Heat and sun can affect the vase life of your flowers, and they will do best in a cool, humid environment. I wouldn’t recommend sticking them near a vent where dry air is blowing on them. 

Now, here’s the high-maintenance part. You should change your vase water daily. Yep. Every. Single. Day. When you change your vase water, check the bottom of the stems to see if any are getting brown or slimy and give them a new cut before placing them in the fresh water. If there are blooms that have been “called home” (as I like to say), remove them. Rotten stems that have nice blooms and flowers that are too far gone will add bacteria to the water, which will spread to the other flowers. Each time you change your vase water, you can add more of your flower food packet, though it’s not make or break if you forget. 

The other day, I walked into my sister’s kitchen and found this bouquet of flowers she’d taken home a few days before. My sister can be a rebellious child when it comes to flower care, which I have now accepted and just take opportunities like these to save whatever blooms she has left from rotting prematurely. If your vase gets this slimy, I would recommend washing it, or moving your flowers into a new vase when giving them fresh water. 

With a little bit of coaching, Steph’s sad arrangement that was sprinkled with perished blooms was reimagined and healthier than ever. 

It’s important to remember that all flowers have different vase lives. This means that no matter what you do, some flowers will last longer off the plant than others. That’s ok! Your arrangement is a living, breathing thing and will change. Flowers are meant to be interactive, so have some fun redesigning your arrangement every day with the flowers that are still thriving. Our bouquets are made with flowers that have different vase lives because it gives you incredible variety. We always go a little heavier on blooms that have longer vase lives, but the ones with short lifespans are still beautiful for a few days. For a complete look at the vase life for different flowers, read my blog post “What is the Vase Life of flowers?”

For a quick tutorial on how to process fresh flowers, watch this video where I unpack a box of my favorite spring blooms!

I know there’s a lot of old wives tales out there about things you can add to your flowers, and while some of them definitely work, I’m an advocate of just plain ol’ fresh water. What are some of your tricks to keep fresh flowers alive longer?

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