16 Ways to Make Cut Flowers Last Longer (plus the best tip of all)

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pink flowers in vase for post about how to make cut flowers last longer

I’ve got a slightly “off topic” tip for you all today — How to Make Flowers Last Longer

Yes, I know.  This is a health blog, right?

Well, it’s really more than that.  Typically I think of myself as a healthy-living, budget-friendly blogger, but I do go outside of that realm sometimes.

I am very interested in current events and how they intersect our lives and health, and I LOVE tips.

Kitchen tips, DIY tips, money saving tips — all of it.

Tips like:

The Easiest Way to Peel Garlic
The Easiest Way to Freeze Berries
How to Substitute Sweeteners

and more.

Really, when you think about it, today’s tip IS about health.  And saving money.

Being in nature is a great way to add to your emotional (and physical) health, and bringing a bit of the outdoors in (like in the form of cut flowers) can do plenty to boost your mood and make you feel healthier.

My youngest and my husband often bring in freshly picked wild flowers to brighten our home, and I typically set them in a small vase (or Mason Jar) by the sink.

I know for me, when I see flowers next to my kitchen sink, it makes washing dishes and doing kitchen chores quite a bit more pleasurable, and we all know that pleasure is an important part of being healthy.

And of course, if you are spending money purchasing cut flowers, then finding a way to keep cut flowers fresh is a great budget-stretching tip.

So, let’s do it, shall we?

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Flowers and Me

I have never been a fan of flowers.  Well, what I mean is that I like flowers, but I don’t like how expensive they are — and I really don’t like when they die.

It basically feels like buying flowers is like pouring money down the drain to me.

Yes, I can be a stoic sometimes.

So while other women love getting flowers, I would purposely ask my husband (and I asked him before we were married too) not to buy me flowers.


And he thoughts I was weird.

But that’s just me.

As I mentioned earlier, however, I will happily receive wild flowers.  Anytime.

Recently I inherited some cut flowers that were just gorgeous, and I wanted to figure out how to keep them fresh as long as possible.

I just so wanted to drink in the real beauty for as long as possible.

They were wild-flower-like bouquets — just pure natural beauty with so many colors.  I was smitten.

At least as smitten as one can be with flowers, that is.

Anyhow, over the years, I’ve looked up ways to keep flowers fresh, and some of the tips have worked, while others haven’t done so well.

So I went back to the internet to see what other options there were.

Here is a list of options that I culled from the internet including why they are supposed to work.

Each one has some merit, but we’ll talk about what I chose and what worked the best later.

How to Make Cut Flowers Last Longer

  • Trim – Trim the stems at a 45 degree angle before placing them in the water.  This allows more water to be absorbed.
  • Remove Leaves – Remove foliage from lower part of the stem – the foliage is a great place for bacteria to grow which is something that shortens the life span of the flowers
  • Water – add water and check water level daily
  • Use Filtered Water – filtered water is better
  • Sterilize the vase – again, bacteria shortens the life span of the flowers
  • Bleach – reduces bacteria
  • Keep Dark – sun and heat encourage flowers to age / mature
  • Vodka —  Vodka, or any alcohol, might halt ethylene production, but it also might help prevent bacteria growth.
  • Sprite — Some say that the acid in the water helps and others say that the sugar helps the flowers.
  • Apple cider vinegar & sugar — Vinegar is an antibacterial agent and the sugar serves as flower food
  • Refrigerator — Put your flowers in the fridge! Cold temperature slows aging of the flowers. Of course, you can’t see them very often this way!
  • Aspirin — Aspirin may lower the pH of the water
  • Add a Penny – The copper in “real” pennies is an acidifier that is thought to help keep flowers fresh
  • Flower Freshness Packs (the ones you get at the florist)
  • Melaleuca Essential Oil

After looking over the above list, I decided to try the Apple Cider Vinegar and Sugar option, plus some additional filtered water in the vase.

I really didn’t feel like investing in those packs of Flower Freshness Stuff (plus I’m not too keen about putting more artificial into the environment and I found out that one of the ingredients in those Flower Fresh Packs is BLEACH! (source)

Blech!  No thank you!  My flowers aren’t worth putting bleach into my home or the environment.

And some of the other options weren’t something I had or felt like spending money on (like Sprite!).  I mean, if I were going to drink the rest of the Sprite, I might invest in a bottle for my flowers, but since we struggle with candida here and soda isn’t on my healthy list of drinks (we actually never buy soda except for possibly Zevia or Bai on very rare occasions), I wasn’t about to bring it into the house for this purpose.

We don’t have aspirin in our house, and I had forgotten I had vodka (plus that’s a pretty pricey way to keep flowers fresh, in my opinion), and didn’t want my flowers in the fridge, of course, because it’s hard to enjoy them when they’re hidden away like that.

So in went the Apple Cider Vinegar and Water blend, and so began the experiment.

I had several vases, and most went in rooms with light, but one vase went in the bathroom, which tends to be darker.

Three days after doing this, and they all still look pretty good, with the exception of the ones with stems that weren’t hitting the water (oops!)

And interestingly enough, I later went on the internet and I found this test that showed that the method that I chose was, in fact, the best. (source)

It’s pretty fun when you find out that what you chose to do was, in fact, the best choice of all.

Better yet, it’s toxin-free!

Oh, and you can see the Vase of Flowers making my bathroom beeeyoootiful right here on Instagram (and of course, you can follow me too.)

bouquet of flowers in vase on shelf

Before sharing the method that I liked the best, I updated the list above to share that adding just one drop of melaleuca essential oil to the vase can also help flowers last longer. Makes sense knowing that melaleuca has antibacterial and antifungal properties.

I haven’t tried it yet (I don’t get flowers that often) but after seeing the tip on a number of sites, I am sure it will work great!

collage of flowers in vases with title saying 16 Tips to Make Cut Flowers Last Longer.

The Best Way to Make Flowers Last Longer

What You Need

Filtered Water  (of course, tap water will work, but filtered is better. Here is the water filter that we use)
Apple Cider Vinegar (we use this brand)
Honey (You can also just regular sugar if you have some around for making kombucha, but the honey has antibacterial qualities which makes it work better. )


1. Add filtered water to the vase.

2. Remove foliage from the lower part of the stem.

3. Place 2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar and 2 tablespoons Honey in a container and blend.

4. Add the mixture to the vase. Depending on the size of the vase, you can add more or less of the vinegar and sugar blend.

5.  Add the flowers to the vase.

6.  If possible, keep your flowers in a cool and dark room (e.g. away from heat vents and bright lights)

7.  Approximately every 2-3 days, change the water, add more of the solution to the vase, and trim the flowers again or at least rinse of the stems.

8.  Enjoy your flowers for a long time!

Do you like having flowers in your home?
What have you tried to make them last and has it worked?

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  1. I really enjoy having fresh flowers around the house, and I like this method for keeping flowers fresh for longer periods of time. I’ve also found that raw honey works really well for the same purpose. I was out of ACV when my husband brought me a bouquet and figured I’d try the honey in place of it and the sugar. Once a week I would change the water and rinse the stems while also removing any that were a little droopy. They stayed looking great for about a month!

  2. Thanks for the info! My mom used to use aspirin and sprite in our Christmas tree stand when I was a kid. FYI, you might want to edit a bit. Right now you have “Refrigerator — Cold temperature slows aging of the flowers” and “The Fridge – Cold temperatures slow the decay of the flowers” included in the list of ways to make flowers last longer, and you write “It’s pretty fun when you find out that what you chose to do was, in fact, the best choice of all.

    Better yet, it’s toxin (and sugar) free!” Yet one of the main ingredients in the method is sugar. (This confused me at first…I was trying to figure out if you used some sort of substitute for sugar.)

    1. Thank YOU!

      I’ve been way too busy and missed those typos. I’m so geared on being sugar free that my fingers must have typed it automatically! 🙂

  3. To make your lovely lilies last longer like the StarGazer ones…….Always cut off the pollen Stamens as they bloom! There is NO need for them to be putting energy into pollen since they have been cut away from other plants. It will definitely will make them last longer. you can leave the large middle stem just cut out the pollen coated ones.

  4. I thought I was the only one who did not like getting flowers. I think it is a waste of money for something that will die in a couple of days. For mother’s day my children have just started to buy me flowers that can be planted. This way I can have them for the whole summer and it is easier on their budget.

    1. You are not alone!! Yay :). Have them get you perennials and then you can have them every year! We have a bunch around out house and we are loving them!

  5. My husband likes to buy me roses from time to time (when he gets a great price on them), and I have learned that after 2 days, if I pour all the water out, the roses will dry nicely. They look droopy, but they stay intact for a long time. I have many years worth of roses in vases around the house. Periodically, I will cull out the ones starting to literally fall apart, but this is usually after a LOT of time has gone by. We can’t afford a dozen roses at one time, but who cares when you get a few here and there and then put them together in a vase. My largest bouquet probably has 30 or more roses in it. I can enjoy them year round, not just at holidays or anniversary. One tip with this method–don’t put your vase of dried roses in front of a window when the wind is blowing in strongly! Don’t ask how I learned this!!

    1. Oh wow. I love dried flowers! Do you have a tip for keeping them more dust free?

      Thanks for the blowing wind tip :).

      1. Unfortunately I don’t have a tip for dust free. Usually the adding in of a few flowers from time to time or the taking out of the ones falling apart keeps them looking good and the dust from accumulating too much. When they start to look pretty dusty and dingy then I know it’s time to throw them all out and start over. As much as I hate throwing them out, I also feel pretty good knowing that those roses probably have lasted 4-5 years.