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Flower Arrangement Care | Help Flowers Last Longer

Flower Arrangement Care | Help Flowers Last Longer
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Flowers are the perfect holiday gift for the person who has everything, but nobody wants to give a present that’s going to die after a few days. Follow these tips to make flower arrangements last longer.

Christmas Flowers
Christmas Flower Arrangement

1. Purchase the freshest flowers possible. Avoid flowers that are weeping, have discolored petals or are fully open with petals beginning to drop. These are signs that your bouquet is past peak.

2. Keep your flowers cool and with stems in at least an inch of water while transporting. In colder months, be sure to wrap flowers in a protective plastic sleeve to avoid exposure to freezing temperatures.

3. Do not leave fresh flowers or plants in vehicles for extended periods of time when temperatures are below 45 degrees even if they are wrapped.

4. Before arranging cut flowers trim approximately one inch off the bottom stems, cutting at an angle. Remove any stem leaves that are dead or dying and/or those that will be submerged in water in a vase.

5. Fill a clean vase halfway to the top with water that is room temperature. Arrange your bouquet in the water and display in an area that isn’t too hot.

A teaspoon of sugar along with a few drops of lemon juice added to water may prolong the life of cut flowers.

An old Yankee remedy of a teaspoon of sugar and a few drops of lemon juice added to the water is said to help to keep cut flowers fresh for longer periods of time.

6. To prolong the life of the flowers keep in cool temperatures away from direct sunlight and change the water every few days, trimming stems to remove any decaying ends when you do. Do not wait for the water to become green and slimy with decaying plant stems before changing it.

7. Do not leave dead blooms in the bouquet. Remove any flowers that die immediately while you continue to enjoy the live ones. When you are down to just a few live flowers, remove these, trim the stems and arrange in a smaller vase.

Editor’s Tip — Carnations are very inexpensive and can be fun to change into different colors for a holiday or to do as a rainy day or snowy day activity with children. Simply purchase white cut carnations and divide into bunches. Follow the directions above for arranging. Add 2-3 drops of food coloring to the water and watch the flowers take on new colors. Color will appear within a few days of adding the food coloring drops. Cut carnations are known to last for weeks.

Shelley Wigglesworth


Shelley Wigglesworth


Shelley (Fleming) Wigglesworth is an award-winning freelance journalist from Maine specializing in maritime topics and the commercial fishing industry. She is also a certified Maine Master Gardener who writes gardening articles on a regular basis for Yankee Magazine. Her work can be found in the following publications: The York County Coast Star, Portsmouth Herald, Bangor Daily News, Yankee Magazine (online), National Fisherman Magazine, Commercial Fisheries News, Tourist News, Points East Magazine, Coastal Angler and The Maine Lobstermen's Association’s “Landings.” Follow Shelley on Facebook.
Updated Monday, December 12th, 2011

2 Responses to Flower Arrangement Care | Help Flowers Last Longer

  1. GSF August 19, 2013 at 10:10 pm #

    I never knew about using sugar and lemon in the water. I’ve always heard you should use aspirin.

  2. Sandy November 19, 2013 at 9:24 pm #

    I heard if you put an aspirin in the water it will help flowers last longer, too. Is this true?

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