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Eyecatcher Frame

General Information

Placing cut flowers in water will help keep them from wilting. If you have a packet of cut flower preservative from a florist or the store, it will help flowers to stay fresh much longer. Unless you are using primarily tropicals or orchids- one simple tip to increase fresh-cut flower longevity is using the proper portion of floral preservative and water.  Cut flowers, whether purchased from the florist or cut from your own garden, will last much longer in the vase or any pot  if you follow the simple guidelines below.

Use a clean vase

Start with vases that have been cleaned with hot soapy water to eliminate bacteria and fungi and then rinsed thoroughly.

Grab a few extra packets at the floral vendor.  One packet is never enough and will make a weak solution that will actually accelerate flower demise.

  • Give them water.
  • Give them food.
  • Protect them from decay or infection.
  • Keep them cool and out of direct sunlight.

Floral preservative is usually a concoction of sugar, a mild acid, and an antibacterial agent or biocide. Fresh-cut flowers need acidic water, food (sugar), and the prevention of bacteria build-up (the biocide).

Prepare the flowers properly

Cut just-opening flowers early in the morning and place in water immediately. The vase life of flowers that ooze a milky “sap” (poinsettias, poppies) may be improved by immersing the bottom 2 inches of their stems in boiling water for 10 seconds before using them in an arrangement.

Gently remove lower leaves from the stem so there will be none in the vase water.

The floral preservative provides flowers with water and food and contains a disinfectant to prevent bacteria from growing.

Make your own Preservative

It’s easier to use a sachet of commercial preservative, but if you don’t have one:

To 1 litre of water add:

  • 1 teaspoon of bleach
  • 2 teaspoons (10 g) of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of vinegar


  • 3 pinches (0.3g) of citric acid

You’ll need to scale those proportions to the volume of your container.

Keep flowers cool

The higher the temperature, the faster flowers will deteriorate, so it is advisable to cut them early in the morning, when temperatures are cool, and to avoid exposure to heat. Don’t place arrangements in sunny locations, near heaters or fireplaces, or on top of television sets. Do put arrangements in a cool place overnight if you possibly can.