Increasing the Vase Life of Cut Flowers
While seeds may be started and early bulbs may be around the corner, having cut flowers around the house provides a welcome burst of garden color in the winter. There are several ways to prolong the vase life of cut flowers.
- Sanitize your vase – Bacteria can build up in the bottom of vases, so clean them with a mild bleach solution and warm water.
- Recut the stems under lukewarm water – Every few days lift the flowers out of the vase and cut off the lowest 1-2” of stem while they are submerged in water. When cut in air, air bubbles form in the xylem. Make sure your tools are sharp and sanitized as well.
- Use a flower preservative – Most floral shops will provide a packet of preservative to use with your bouquet. The preservative contains a bactericide, sugar for sustenance, and a mild acid as a catalyst for sugar uptake. Only use a small portion of this packet each day.
- Keep the bouquet out of direct sunlight.
- Change the vase water often – Changing water every day or every other day dramatically reduces the bacteria populations that eat away at the cut flowers. Don’t forget to add a few drops of the flower preservative.
Here is the expected vase life of some common cut flowers:
Less than One Week: Iris, Tulip, Sweet Pea, Snapdragon, Daffodil
One Week: Rose, Baby’s Breath, Marguerite Daisy, Peony
Two Weeks: Orchid, Carnation, Chrysanthemum
Prepared by Lindsey Smith, Collections Curator