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Fresh flowers are universally beloved, making them a go-to gift for various occasions, from birthdays to graduations and more. Whether it’s a single red rose or a bunch of tulips, flowers have the power to brighten anyone’s day. They symbolize care and appreciation. But once you receive a bouquet, the big question is how to make them last longer. Typically, flowers tend to wilt and fade within a week.

With that in mind, here are some practical ways to keep your flowers fresh and vibrant for much longer.

Use a Proper Vase

A bouquet of yellow tulips in a vase on the floor. A gift to a woman's day from yellow tulip flowers. Beautiful yellow flowers in vase by wall.
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Flowers come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and colors, and this diversity means that not all vases are equally suitable for every type and quantity of blooms. You must consider the size and weight of the flowers when selecting a vase. So, if you find yourself with a large bouquet, it’s essential to choose a vase that provides ample space for the flowers without overcrowding them. This can lead to the premature wilting of fresh flowers. All flowers need room to breathe. If your vase isn’t big enough, consider splitting the bouquet and using multiple vases.

On the flip side, lighter, delicate flowers tend to fare better in taller vases, which helps maintain their freshness for a longer period.

Make Sure the Vase is Clean

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Give the vase a good wash with warm water and soap. The vase must be clean before adding your flowers.

Consistently Change the Water

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Like people, flowers also need water to stay alive. However, it’s essential to give them just the right amount of water, not too much and not too little. To extend the lifespan of your bouquet, it’s a good practice to change the water in the vase every couple of days. Fresh water helps keep the flowers hydrated and prevents the growth of harmful bacteria.

Keep the Flower Petals Hydrated

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Your flowers’ petals can also benefit from a gentle mist of water. Keep a spray bottle filled with fresh water near your bouquet, and lightly mist the petals a few times a week. Provide just enough mist to keep the petals moist.

Remove Excess Leaves

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Before placing your flowers in the vase, be sure to inspect for any foliage below the waterline. It’s a good practice to remove any excess foliage. These submerged leaves can eventually decay and contribute to bacterial growth in the water, which can negatively impact the flowers’ longevity.

Cut the Stems

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When you bring home a fresh bouquet, start by cutting the ends of the stems at a 45-degree angle before placing them in the water. Trimming the stems this way enhances their ability to absorb water. It’s a good idea to repeat the stem-trimming process every couple of days or each time you change the water. You can use either clean garden shears for the cleanest cut, or regular scissors.

Location Matters

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The ideal location for your cut flowers depends on the specific type of flowers you have. The choice of location can have a direct impact on how long your flowers stay fresh. Generally, it’s a good practice to place them in a cool area or at room temperature. Avoid exposing them to direct sunlight, heating systems, or the heat from kitchen appliances.

Feed Your Flowers

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Most store-bought fresh-cut flowers include a small flower food packet. Don’t forget to make use of it. Use it to give your flowers the nourishment they need. Just pour the contents of the packet into the vase when you bring the bouquet home.

Make Your Own Flower Food

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If you run out of flower food packets, you can try some easy substitutes. Just add a teaspoon of vinegar to the water to balance its acidity, a teaspoon of sugar for nourishment, and a few drops of bleach to keep the water clear and prevent bacteria from forming.

Avoid Placing Flowers Next to Fruits and Veggies

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Fruits and vegetables release a natural plant hormone called ethylene as they ripen. Exposure to ethylene can accelerate the wilting and aging of flowers. Therefore, it’s a good idea to keep your bouquet away from ripened fruits to ensure they last longer.

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Tamara White is the creator and founder of The Thrifty Apartment, a home decor and DIY blog that focuses on affordable and budget-friendly home decorating ideas and projects. Tamara documents her home improvement journey, love of thrifting, tips for space optimization, and creating beautiful spaces.

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