How to: Keep Cut Flowers Looking Fresh

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

There’s nothing that quite livens up a room like an arrangement of fresh cut flowers. Its a small touch that goes a long way to reward the eyes and nose, and its the first thing I suggest to friends who are looking for a quick solution for the decor blues when time is of the essence.

But there is a bit of simple science in keeping cut flowers looking their best for extended periods. Follow these easy steps to keep your new colorful house guests happy and healthy:

  • When purchasing flowers, look for ones with tight buds and shiny leaves. These are indicators of a healthy flowering plant.
  • You want to start this new budding relationship on a good foot, so use clean lukewarm water and also a clean vase.
  • Before arranging the flowers in the vase, cut off about an inch or two from the stems underwater, using a diagonal cut.
  • Commercial floral preservatives packets control bacteria, fungal and yeast growth, while providing food for your flowers. So use it or lose it.
  • Remove any leaves that are below the water line to prevent decomposition.
  • Change water every 2 days to prevent bacteria growth, and add a cube of sugar and a few drops of lemon juice each time the water is changed (similar to the wive’s tale of using a penny and aspirin). These act in place of the floral preservatives. Think of this solution as Viagra for your flowers.
  • At night, flowers prefer to be kept in a cool (not cold) area, away from drafts (much like myself!).
  • Keep arrangement away from fresh fruit, as these release ethylene, a gas that accelerates aging/decomposition.