Skip to content

How to Keep Flowers in Your Home Fresher for Longer

Keeping flowers looking fresh is all about working with each stem as the age and wilt

Bookmark article to read later

By House & Garden | November 11, 2023 | Gardens

With a strong focus on sustainability, the team at Uncut Stems, which offers stylish flower deliveries each week, are very much concerned with prolonging the life of your flowers. Here they offer helpful tips on how to avoid wilting flowers and how to re-use beautiful blooms wherever possible.

Vases and water

Don’t place your vase next to a fruit bowl, as fruit releases ethylene gas which will cause your flowers to die faster. Don’t let flowers sit in direct sunlight, they prefer cool, shady spots.

Change vase water every day. Bacteria build up quickly and can clog up your stems and stop them taking in water. Flowers also release hormones that can affect one another, so make sure that water is clean!

If you don’t have time to regularly change water then you can drop half a Milton tablet in your vase to help fight off bacteria. We've been seeing record temperatures this year so in hot weather, help your flowers by popping ice in the vase.

Rescuing flowers

Working with your flowers as they naturally wilt to make the most of each one and extend vase life.

Trim the stems regularly to make sure they’re able to take up water still, cut with sharp scissors at a sharp angle to give maximum surface contact with the open bottom of the stem and the water.

Don’t throw the whole bunch away if you have some flowers starting to wilt. Pull them all out of the vase, line them up in a row and assess each one individually. Look for the following:

Stems with multiple flowers: pick away any browning flowers and the stem will look good as new!

Umbells, i.e. anything like cow parsley, dill or ammi. Hold them upside down and give a gentle shake to loosen any flowers/pollen that would otherwise drop in your home.

Individual flowers: if the stem is still strong but the petals are drooping, gently pick away at any remaining. More often than not what is left behind looks as interesting as the flower itself did.

Trim flowers shorter and use a smaller vase to rearrange for maximum volume. Image via Pexels,

Foliage and all flowers: pick away drying or browning leaves.

There are some clever tricks for rescuing flowers that are floppy before their time! Hellebores, ammi and scabious are all common culprits of arriving a bit soft. Simply trim the bottoms and pop the ends in freshly boiled water (keeping the flower heads away from the steam) for about 30 seconds. You should see bubbles in the water - that’s air being drawn out that had been blocking the stem. Then wrap up the flowers with paper in a tight cone shape, so that their heads are supported, and leave in cool fresh water for a few hours, ideally overnight. You’ll be amazed at how well this technique can work!

Re-using flowers

Research which flowers can be dried and hang them upside down for a couple of weeks. When finished pop in bud vases around your home.

Press flowers between the pages of a book using kitchen towel to absorb any moisture. They can be made into cards or framed.

Some cut flowers can even be propagated. Scented geranium can be cut just beneath a leaf node then left in water to root. Then plant in a pot or your garden.

A lot of flowers look great even as they wilt. Uncut Stems love to leave aging tulips and dahlias in the vase. Image via Pexels.