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Keep Your Cut Flowers Fresh for Longer

Overhead view of yellow fresh-cut flowers in a white vase Play Video

There’s something about fresh flowers that makes any occasion or setting more special. Sure, they brighten up the space and provide a pleasing aroma, but that’s just the tip of the tulip. The beauty and healing energy of live flowers cross cultural boundaries and speak to all of us.

From celebratory settings like Valentine’s Day or date night, to well wishes, get-betters or fun with feng shui, who doesn’t love going home with a bouquet or vase full of fresh flowers? And the last thing you want after displaying your new floral centerpiece is to watch those perfect petals begin to wilt, droop and dry out.

MYTH:Cutting flower stems at an angle promotes longer life than a straight cut

The good news is it’s not that hard to make your fresh cut flowers last longer, and a few simple steps here and there will help you avoid those steps of shame to the trash can with your next bouquet after only a few days. Check out some tips from the experts at NC State…

Tip sheet

5 Fast Tips: Caring for Cut Flowers

  • Before putting your flowers in a vase, cut the stems at their base. Although you may have heard that an angled cut is better, cutting the stems straight is perfectly fine.
  • Put them in a place where there’s good light – but not direct sunlight. And don’t put them near heat vents.
  • If the flowers come with a packet of plant food, use it. It contains sugars to feed the flowers and ingredients that inhibit growth of microbes in the vase water.
  • Check the water level and clarity every day, making sure to add more water if needed and completely replace the water if it’s cloudy. Giving stem bases another fresh cut when changing the water will help keep the bottom of the stem unclogged so the flower continues to take up the water it needs.
  • Clip and remove wilting or discolored flowers and leaves as they appear – this keeps the remaining ones healthy for longer.

See the “Showtimes” calendar from NC State’s JC Raulston Arboretum to learn when local flowers are blooming. If you have other questions or want a helping hand from the experts, contact your local N.C. Cooperative Extension center and a horticulture agent will work with you.

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