How to keep cut flowers looking fresh

They can last longer than you think.
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Having a beautiful bunch of fresh flowers in your home is known to boost energy, mood and productivity levels. All cut flowers will eventually spoil, but with care, you can extend their life and make them last longer.

Whether you’ve bought a bunch yourself or have had the thrill of a generous bouquet delivered to your door on Valentine’s Day, looking after cut flowers will have them blooming in your home for days, even weeks.

However, taking care of them isn’t as easy as simply styling a beautiful arrangement and popping it in water. By following these five florist’s tips into your routine, your flowers will be as fresh as daisies (literally) for so much longer!

Hydrangea flower arrangement on a marble coffee table
(Credit: Photography: Sue Stubbs | Styling: Samantha Torrisi)

1. Trim the stems

Cut 2-4cm off the ends of the flower stems at a diagonal angle. This will increase the amount of base area that the flower has to stay hydrated.

To ensure a longer and healthier bunch, trim the stems each time the water is changed.

Cut flowers in bowls
Cut flowers at the studio of Sydney florist, Myra Perez of My Violet. (Credit: Photography: Brigid Arnott | Styling: John Mangila)

2. Add vinegar and sugar to the water

Is there anything apple cider vinegar can’t do? Along with benefitting your gut health, it also aids the growth and maintenance of your flowers. 

Add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and two tablespoons of sugar into the vase of water and stir. 

This mixture holds the freshness of the flowers and provides essential nutrients. Make sure you change the water every few days and add a fresh amount of vinegar and sugar.

Kitchen with large flower arrangement on island bench
(Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread | Styling: Corina Koch)

3. Clean the vase daily

Washing your vase and giving the flowers clean water every day (or at least every two days) is the most important step in caring for cut flowers.

“Roses, in particular, need clean water daily,” says Teresa Boreham, florist and owner of Flowers By Teresa in Sydney’s inner west.

“Wash the vase well and refill with clean water, adding a sachet of flower food (supplied by your florist) or a teaspoon of bleach to deter bacteria. Remove any spent blooms and leaves below the water line as these will promote decay of the remaining blooms,” advises Teresa.

White and blue laundry with flower arrangement on bench
(Credit: Photography: Tim Salisbury, Eleanor Byrne | Styling: Anna Spiro)

5. Remove leaves and outer petals

By removing the leaves that are below the waterline, you save growing bacteria that would sabotage the growth of the flowers. It will also make your bunch look much fuller and brighter. If you are dealing with flowers such as roses, remove the outer layer of petals to allow the flower to blossom to its full extent.

Flowers arranged in a vase on a wooden stool
(Credit: Photography: Brigid Arnott | Styling: John Mangila | Flowers: Cara Fritch of Trille)

6. Keep away from direct heat and sunlight

Flowers are kept inside because they often can’t handle an outdoor environment. It’s important to keep them away from windows where they’ll receive constant and direct sunlight and instead have them in a cool area where they can fully blossom.

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