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Keeping Cut Flowers Fresh

Updated: Aug 29, 2023

I adore having fresh cut flowers in my apartment. It’s such a simple thing that makes me so happy. When it comes to arranging them, I have a few simple tips that will not only display them beautifully but also allow you to enjoy them longer.

Preparing Your Blooms

I always recut my stems on an angle to the height I want them. I measure them up against the height of the vase. It’s a good idea to leave them longer to start, and slowly cut them down to the right length to avoid cutting them too short. Remember to remove any leaves or foliage that might be immersed below the water line. This ensures the water stays fresher, longer and won’t create a haven for bacteria which can also create a stinky mess in your water.

I usually use the flower food I get with my bouquet. I dissolve the crystals fully in lukewarm water before I add the stems.

Some people swear by a adding a capful of bleach or a penny to the water. Either option works and will act as a fungicide, which will naturally kill off the bacteria that can form in the water and shorten the life of your blooms.

Special Tips for Tulips

My mom has a handy trick for tulips to prevent them from drooping. She ‘slits their throats’; which sounds horribly morbid but actually works!

Just take the tip of a sharp knife and gently add a tiny, vertical cut in the stem just below the bloom. You could also use a toothpick to poke a small hole in this same spot below the bloom. If any air bubbles form in the stem this will give them a place to escape, thereby ensuring the bloom gets the water it needs.

Choosing the Right Container

This is important. Whether you want a small, full arrangement or something tall and simpler, choosing the right container makes all the difference. I have a beautiful cut crystal vase from my grandmother in a pretty globe shape. I tend to create a similar shape with the florals I choose for this one. If you have a square or rectangular container, you could create something more linear. The following technique is perfect for shorter containers with a wider opening.

After you’ve added your water and preservative of choice, cover the top of the container crisscross with clear scotch tape. This will create a grid pattern where you can easily place your blooms in each open spot. Trim them to fit and give the effect you want.

This technique keeps top-heavy flowers upright and creates that fuller look we often see in professional arrangements.

Making a Grocery Store Bouquet Look Special

If I’m on the go and want to grab some quick flowers - and a florist isn't a convenient stop, I’ll choose all the same blooms with some greenery. It’s a no fuss way to make grocery store florals look like something you picked up from a florist.

I tend to choose fuller blooms, like carnations, and arrange them tightly packed together using the scotch tape grid technique I described above. This looks incredible with all the same shade of flower but can also be fun with a variety of colours.

Roses are another great option. I love them with eucalyptus, but can also work with them on their own, or even with traditional baby's breath. Whether you choose a tall vase for long stems, a bud vase or a smaller container, roses look and smell incredible.

My partner, Jordan bought me a dozen red roses this week and well, I chose all 3 options. I love how they look arranged together on our dining room table. They're one of the first things I see when I walk into our home.

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