Tips for Long-Lasting Bouquets


Store-bought flowers are one of the easiest ways to temporarily enhance your mood, yet their expense and relatively short lifespan make it difficult to get your money’s worth. Living in NYC, and its resulting inaccessibility to (super) freshly cut flowers means that to really squeeze every ounce of life out of the city’s  blooms, I’ve got to be up to snuff on Flower 101.  As a result of my conundrum, I figured I’d share ten of my tips, as well as those from flower-keeping masters, in increasing the longevity of your flowers.


1. Add bleach to keep water clear, and to prevent bacteria from forming on the base of stems, which halts water absorption.  1/4 teaspoon per quart of water.

2. While a significant amount of time spent outside of water is damaging for flowers, those  in boutonnieres, bouquets, and other out-of-water displays may be kept in tact by misting, eight inches away, with water from a spray bottle.

3. Cut stems underwater to prevent air from entering, and at an angle to provide more surface area for the flower to drink up water.

4. Place all freshly cut flowers in warm water, although hydrangeas require hot tap water.

5. Aspirin, versatile in relieving many ailments, may also aid organisms of the leafy variety in reaching old age. Place one tablet in water before adding flowers.

Picture 37

6.  As you would with scallions, score the ends of the stems of flowers from bulbs and tubers (lilies, tulips, amaryllis, etc.) to increase absorption.

7. Display away from sunlight and heat sources.

8. To ward off split stems, a common occurence with flowers like amaryllis, hyacinth, and the calla lily, fasten the base of the ends (2-3 times around) with clear tape.

9. Prior to arranging, place flowers in the refrigerator at 38-40 degrees for at least six hours.

10. Keep away from fruit, which releases ethylene gas that may cause flowers to wilt.




Some tips are adapted from Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics, Reader’s Digest, and Fresh Flower Arranging.



  1. thatskindagay · · Reply

    My mom always taught me that a little splash of bleach in the water works. does it?

    1. Your mom is right! Works for me, and many trusted sources as well (Ina Garten, National Gardening Association).

  2. This is very useful information. Thank you. I’m dying to know what these beautiful flowers are named! Such an eye pleasing arrangement, as well are the positioning of the top photograph. You are brilliant!

    1. Thank you! The pink are Lisianthus, also known as Eustoma. I’m checking with a florist on the blue and will report back!

  3. Wow so helpful! I knew to cut them at an angle, but the rest was new to me! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Great to hear! Glad I could be of help :)

  4. Great tips! One of my floral design instructors said that you only have 10 seconds between cutting and putting them in water to avoid bacteria. If it takes longer than that, you should cut the stem again! Also, make sure the container is disinfected!

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