11 tips for keeping cut flowers fresh for longer

Whether for Valentine’s Day, as a birthday greeting, for a wedding or as a colourful support at the hospital bedside – flowers give joy and are an integral part of our social life. Unfortunately, however, the joy of cut flowers usually does not last long and the flower splendour shrinks in a short time to a withering cluster. However, if you follow some of the tips below, you can significantly increase the shelf life of your cut flowers and enjoy their beautiful sight longer – simple home remedies make it possible!

1. Clean vase

Those who often get flowers or regularly decorate their apartment with a fresh bouquet may know this: the withered flowers are removed, the vase is briefly swung out with water and the next stems end up in it. However, germs are also left in the vase, which can spread quickly in fresh water and shorten the lifespan of the flowers. It is therefore advisable to thoroughly clean the vase and free it from any residues before a new bouquet moves in.

2. Cut the stems

Most of the time, we don’t know which way cut flowers have already travelled before they reach us. At times, they store without water supply, which dries out the stems and closes the pipelines in which moisture and nutrients are transported to the flowers. Therefore, you should always cut the stems at an angle by a few centimetres before you place the bouquet in the vase. It is best to use a sharp knife instead of scissors. A paper cut can squeeze the stems too much, which also makes it difficult to absorb the water and food of the plant.

3. Remove the lower leaves

If leaves are in the flower water, they begin to rot, which has a negative effect on the lifespan of the entire bouquet. Therefore, you should remove all leaves that reach below the water surface in advance.

4. Cool and not too close to the fruit basket

Doesn’t a colourful bouquet of flowers look doubly beautiful next to an equally colourful fruit basket? It may be, but apples and co. exude the ripening gas ethylene, which makes flowers bloom faster, but also accelerates their aging process. For the longest time, your cut flowers stay in a bright, not too warm place without direct sunlight and free of draughts. To increase their lifetime, you can place them in a cooler room overnight.

5. Alcohol

Alcohol has a disinfecting effect and slows down the growth of rotting bacteria. With a splash of vodka or another high-percentage alcohol in the water, the lifespan of your flowers can also increase.

6. Aspirin

Yes you read correctly! Aspirin with the active ingredient acetylsalicylic acid, is not only a classic medicine for headaches. The contained salicylic acid also strengthens the immune system of plants and thus delays the withering of your flowers. At the same time, aspirin lowers the ph-value of the water, which inhibits the propagation of rotting bacteria. Depending on the amount of water, dissolve a quarter or half tablet in the water and your flowers will thank you with longer lasting freshness.

7. Make flower fresheners yourself

You certainly know the small plastic bags filled with powder that are added to cut flower bouquets. They usually contain sugar and a germ-inhibiting substance to keep the flower water fresh era for longer. You can achieve the same effect with an environmentally friendly mixture of apple cider vinegar and sugar produced in seconds. Simply add one or two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and the same amount of sugar per litre of water to the vase. The sugar supplies the flowers with energy, vinegar keeps germs at bay.

8. Increase humidity

Room air is usually considerably drier than the open air. To prevent the flowers from drying out, dust them from time to time with some lukewarm water.

9. Change water daily

Whether you’re using pure water or adding a freshener, the flowers deprive the water of nutrients and germs form that accelerate the rotting process of the flower stems. Therefore, you should change the water of the vase regularly, preferably daily.

Tip: Cut flowers feel most comfortable in lukewarm water, with the exception of cold-loving varieties such as tulips and daffodils. If you are unsure, it is best to ask the florist when buying.

10. Remove withering flowers immediately

Not only ripe fruit, but also withering flowers release ethylene to the environment and thus strengthen the aging process of the other flowers. Therefore, you should examine your bouquet again and again for withered flowers and remove them immediately.

11. Cut ends regularly

To ensure the undisturbed flow of moisture and nutrients through the stems, it is recommended to cut them again every two to three days. All these tips and tricks can increase the shelf life of cut flowers by a few days. If one compares its lifespan with that of potted plants or flowers in the wild, it is nevertheless extremely short.