How to Keep Cut Flowers Fresh

I love to make arrangements with affordable grocery store flowers and today I am sharing how to keep cut flowers fresh.

How to Keep Cut Flowers Fresh

Happy Saturday! I love to have fresh flowers in our home. You know what I mean, don’t you think a vase of flowers instantly cheers up any room? The only issue is how to keep cut flowers fresh, right?

For everyday, affordable flowers, I love Trader Joe’s flowers. Since most grocery stores have a pretty good selection of affordable flowers, we can all have beautiful flowers all of the time.

How to Keep Cut Flowers Fresh

How to Keep Cut Flowers Fresh

There is a lot of advice about how to keep cut flowers fresh for as long as possible. Some of the advice about how to keep cut flowers fresh is tried and true. Things like snipping the stems with a fresh cut for better water absorption and removing the outer “guard” petals from roses (so that the bloom can open fully) are both tricks I use frequently.

More suggestions as to how to keep cut flowers fresh are a little more interesting. Have you heard about adding apple cider vinegar and sugar to the water? Or what about adding aspirin (or bleach or coins or vodka) to the water? Have you tried spraying hairspray on a flower arrangement to maintain the blooms?

How to Keep Cut Flowers Fresh 11

I haven’t tried any of the water additives and have never “hairsprayed” an arrangement. I would love to know if you have so please let me know if I should be doing any of these tricks!

Earlier this week, I bought flowers at Trader Joe’s to make a few arrangements for a dinner party. Here is a tip, always check the buckets of Trader Joe’s roses for garden roses. I have found garden roses tucked into the buckets with their regular roses. Garden roses look very similar to gorgeous heirloom roses, with big double blooms. I don’t always find the garden roses, but I always check! Some of my go-to’s are light pink flowers, pink flowers, and pink and white flowers to add to an arrangement. Pink flowers are just so happy!

On my last trip to Trader Joe’s, I found light pink garden roses, darker pink garden roses, pink carnations, pink and pink and white gerbera daisies, fluffy white mums, light purple mums, a small bunch of Queen Anne’s lace, and lots of pretty greens. These flowers weren’t expensive as I spent about $40 on all of the flowers and was able to make three different arrangements. I made two in matching crocks and one in one of my beloved battery glass containers.

How to Keep Cut Flowers Fresh

The light pink flowers, pink flowers, and pink and white flowers together in these arrangements are amazing.

How to Keep Cut Flowers Fresh

I made this arrangement in a vintage battery jar. If you are unfamiliar, battery jars were primitive batteries used in the 19th century primarily for telegraph and telephone systems. The open jar contained a liquid electrolyte (a wet solution that that is able to conduct an electrical current) and metallic electrodes. Benjamin Franklin conducted experiments using these types of battery jars. Isn’t it incredible that these beautiful jars were used for such an industrial purpose? If you ever see one of these at a vintage flea market or antique store, scoop it up!

After a couple of days, I had some droopers. What’s a drooper? Some flowers just don’t have a great lifespan and they may start to droop in a few hours. When that happens, the arrangements need to be refreshed. Hydrangeas, while I love them, can be very fickle. Trader Joe’s hydrangeas come in a package of 3 stems and inevitably, one of the stems, after being placed into an arrangement, just can’t take the pressure of being beautiful any longer and wilts. So much drama!

A trick that I use frequently to keep cut flowers fresh is to refresh flowers into new arrangements. I had started with three arrangements earlier in the week and to take advantage of the flowers that were still in good shape, I condensed the three arrangements into one.

Vintage Flower Arrangement

I was inspired by this vintage bucket that I had just found at the Rose Bowl Swap Meet. I wanted to make an arrangement that looked like vintage flowers to compliment the bucket.

How to Keep Cut Flowers Fresh

Because the bucket is vintage, I was pretty sure that the bucket was not water-tight, so I dropped in one of my antique crocks into the bucket to hold the flowers, floral oasis, and water. 

How to Keep Cut Flowers Fresh

By using this refreshing trick, three arrangements now become one, giving me a house full of fresh flowers for more than a full week! I started by taking the three arrangements completely apart.

How to Keep Cut Flowers Fresh

I threw away the droopers and soon-to-be droopers and took stock of what I had left. Because I had started with three arrangements, I had a pretty good number of flowers to work with and would be able to make one large vintage flower arrangement.

How to Keep Cut Flowers Fresh

I removed some of the outer petals from the roses that were starting to wilt and the roses looked completely refreshed! Because they had already been in an arrangement for a couple of days, the roses were really beginning to open up which added to the vintage feel.

I gave all of the flowers and greens a little snip on their stems to refresh them. Snipping the stems helps them absorb more water so the arrangement will last at least three or four more days. It is amazing I made four arrangements for $40 and they lasted a full week!

How to Keep Cut Flowers Fresh

Once I had all of the flowers arranged in the bucket, I added the greenery. One of my favorite greens to use is seeded eucalyptus because it adds a beautiful silvery green and the seeds look like flowers that are about to bloom!

You would never know that these flowers had had another life in three previous arrangements as the garden roses were perfectly opened and gave the arrangement an old-fashioned/vintage flowers look.

How to Keep Cut Flowers Fresh

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I hope that you have a very Happy Saturday and maybe even find some flowers for your house to arrange or rearrange!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you keep cut flowers fresh?

Snip the stems with a fresh cut for better water absorption and removing the outer “guard” petals from roses so that the bloom can open fully are both tricks I use frequently. Snip the stems before arranging and rearranging and refresh the water daily.

Click on the Photos Below for Items Shown in This Post

Below are some of my favorite containers to use to arrange flowers. Click on the photo to go to the item.

Being organized and having all of my flower arranging supplies together in one place makes flower arranging so much easier. This flower stand is how I store all of my faux flowers, plus, it is so pretty! Click on the photo to go to the item.

As we head into fall and the holidays (eek!), having lots of containers for flowers, centerpieces, and floral storage is really important. Click on the photo to go to the item.

Pin the image below to your decor boards on Pinterest (just click the Pin button in the top left corner). You can also follow along with me on Pinterest!

How to Keep Cut Flowers Fresh

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    1. Enough to fill the bottom. 8″ isn’t a very large tub. The floral foam bricks are easy to cut to fit the vessel that you are using. Good luck!

  1. My daughter suggested putting a penny in the bottom of the vase. It really worked. It kept tulips from drooping so quickly and I had grocery store hydrangeas last for almost 3 weeks!!! I was totally amazed!!

  2. I adore hydrangeas but they are fussy as cut flowers! I love the penny idea and will give it a try. I’ve read and used this method with fresh cut hydrangeas and refreshing hydrangeas: fill a vase about 1/2-3/4 full of scalding hot water. Cut the stems at an angle and remove most of the leaves. Place in scalding water. Done! Given some time, wilting hydrangeas will be completely revived. It’s like magic. 😉

    1. Wow Sharon, I cannot wait to try this method! Hydrangeas, while I love them, are so, so fussy! Looking forward to hydrangea magic!

    1. Hi Debi – The garden roses look similar to heirloom roses which have a double bloom look. Regular roses are beautiful. Garden/heirloom roses are spectacular, but hard to find commercially.

  3. You should also remember to snip off any leaves below the water line. Otherwise they will decompose and makes the water smell bad and leave bacteria in the water.

  4. Such a beautiful arrangement Leslie. I love fresh flowers for my home as well. Thanks for the suggestion of the Garden Roses I will look next time. I put ice cubes in my water and it seems to help.

    1. Thank you so much Sylvia for the kind words. Looking for the garden roses has become a bit of a game for me. Sometimes I find them and other times I don’t. Thank you for the tip on adding ice cubes, I will give it a try!

  5. Adding pennies worked pretty well to perk up my floppy tulips. Not all of them responded but that was okay.

  6. My mother always dropped an aspirin into the vase as she was filling it with water. I honestly believe it works better than the flower packets they include with the store bought arrangements. Change the water after a few days, add a new aspirin & the arrangement can last over a week or more!

    1. Great advice Jen! I haven’t tried it before but will definitely try it in the future. Fresh flowers for over a week, sign me up!

  7. I just read recently that you should cut your hydrangeas in a sharp angle and then tip that end in Alum powder. I think I read this in Southern Living. Haven’t tried it yet, but I did buy the Alum! Love all of your posts, Leslie!

    1. Thank you Glenda for reaching out and for your kind words. I have heard about adding Alum to the water, but not to the tip of the stem. I will give this a try! Have a great day!

  8. To prevent Tulips from drooping pierce the top of the stem, under the flower head with a pin. Go all the way through the stem.
    Tried and tested for several years now. Works perfectly. Get up to a week at the least out of the tulips.

    1. Oh my gosh Tricia, I have never heard of this tip before. I am excited to try it! Thank you for reaching out to me and for sharing your tip!

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