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Freshly cut flowers are such a beautiful way to make a room feel cozier and to bring a little bit of the outdoors into your home. Whether you received flowers delivered from a florist, purchased cut flowers from the grocery store, or cut them fresh from your garden, there are several easy ways to extend the life and the beauty of your floral arrangement.


Palm Springs Florist is a family-owned business that has been providing our customers with freshly cut flower arrangements since 1947, so we’ve picked up plenty of tips and tricks for keeping your flowers fresh along the way. We are happy to share what we’ve learned with you!

How to Keep a Flower Bouquet Fresh

There are a few tips that will help your flowers stay beautiful longer. These are the basic steps for keeping your flowers fresh: 

How to Cut Flower Stems 

If you purchased flowers from the grocery store or market, first and foremost, cut the flower stems immediately. Florists will typically do this with a sharp floral knife cutting at a 45-degree angle. Cut away from yourself, please! If you feel more comfortable using scissors, that is completely fine. 

Try to cut the flowers at an angle under running water. Doing so prevents air bubbles from entering the stem and makes water absorption easier for the flower. The angle is important because flat cut stems do not absorb water as easily. If you got your flowers from a professional florist, the flowers will already be cut and will be fine for another few days.

Clean the Flowers and the Vase

Prepare the stems by removing any leaves that will fall below the waterline. This keeps your water cleaner and inhibits bacterial growth. Leaves in standing water in nature create a swamp, and cut flowers do not like murky, smelly water. 

Choose a vase or container that has enough room for the stems you are placing. If the stems are pinched or cramped, they will not get enough water and will wilt quickly. If you find that all your blooms won’t fit, remove some stems or choose a larger vase. 

Make sure to maintain vase upkeep and clean it properly before you start using a mixture of bleach and water. One teaspoon of bleach per quart of water is plenty. 

What Do You Put in Flower Arrangements to Make Them Last Longer?

There are all kinds of tips and tricks people will use to keep flowers fresh. If you ask anyone, it’s like finding a cure for a case of hiccups: everybody seems to have a different answer and will swear by it. 

The good news is that these home remedies for flower longevity are all partially correct and do usually help. However, the best solution is the actual powder packet the florist provides. 

If you are curious about what is in that package or what you have around the house that might be a good substitute, read on for more information.

About Food Packets From the Florist

The little packet is easy to use and the perfect time to add it is right when you get the flowers cut, cleaned, and ready to put into the water. If you like, you can wait a day or two until you change the water. Most flower foods from the manufacturer contain a commercial biocide to kill bacteria and fungus that naturally occurs on plants, dextrose, and citric acid. 

These ingredients do several things. First, the biocide kills the bacteria and keeps it from multiplying in the water and creating that stinky swamp we described earlier. Dextrose is a sugar, plants produce it on their own but since the flowers are cut they will need nourishment to last longer. 

Finally, the citric acid lowers the pH in the water, making it easier for the water to flow into the flower and keeping it from wilting. 

Make Your Own Floral Preservative at Home

If you don’t have a floral preservative packet, you can make your own flower food at home using:

At the very least, bleach and rinse the vase before you arrange the flowers in it. This ensures a cleaner place for the bouquet to thrive. 

Will Keeping My Flower Arrangement in the Refrigerator Make It Last Longer?

The short answer is yes. Florists keep flowers in a walk-in cooler or refrigerator that is kept around 34° F to preserve them and protect them from their biggest enemy, heat. That being said, it’s pretty difficult to enjoy your beautiful flowers if you only get to see them when you grab a snack. 

Hints on Refrigerating and Displaying Your Floral Arrangement

One thing to remember is to remove all fruit from the fridge before you store your flowers for the evening. Fruit naturally emits a type of plant hormone known as ethylene gas that speeds up the blooming process of flowers and may cause them to age prematurely. To that end, you will likely not want to display flowers near a bowl of fruit on the kitchen counter for the same reason. 

To keep flower arrangements fresh longer and still be able to enjoy them in your home we suggest keeping them in the refrigerator overnight and displaying them in the daytime when you are awake to enjoy them. Another tip to help to extend the life of flower arrangements is to be mindful of where they are displayed. 

Where Can I Display My Floral Arrangement to Keep It Fresh Longer? 

As a guideline, cut flower arrangements last longer when kept in cooler spots of the home, out of direct sunlight, and away from drafts or heat sources. Be careful not to place them in a spot that receives no sun in the morning, but has loads of sunlight in the afternoon. This is especially important in hot climates.

Flowers tend to drink more water when they are left in drafty areas or when it is warm, so be sure to check the water level each day and change the water completely every two days. 

What Temperature of Water Should I Use for Cut Flowers?

A note on water temperature: when cutting flowers, warmer water (around or above 80° F) is better. Flowers can absorb it easier and that will make for a well-hydrated bloom. 

After they have been properly cut and cleaned, cold or cool water is preferable for displaying them. Warm water encourages the flowers to bloom faster and will shorten the life of the arrangement. 

For the Best Selection of Loose Stems and Greens, Give Us a Call

Want more tips and tricks to keep your flowers fresh at home? We are always happy to answer your floral and plant questions or to help you find the cut flowers you need. Give Palm Springs Florist a call or contact us online today.