Make Everyday Beautiful: How to Keep Your Flowers Fresh

I always keep dried flowers in the house because I love their simple beauty, but I also love to spend time choosing fresh flowers to assemble as well. I know that most places sell gorgeous, intricate arrangements, but I prefer to create my own. It’s relaxing, it’s less expensive, and it feeds my creative mind.

Jumbo green mums and pink carnations
Green jumbo mums and hot pink carnations

I normally keep things very simple by buying 2-3 bouquets and maybe some babies breath which I love to have in the house. I’ve heard some complain that buying fresh flowers is a waste of money because they don’t last, so I’m going to share some tips on how to keep your flowers fresher longer so that there’s no excuse not to add more simple beauty to your life.

For this post, I’ve done a little research to make sure that I’m giving you the best information. I also wanted to see if there were any techniques that I hadn’t tried but looked promising. Turns out I’ve found one. I’ll tell you about it a bit later on. Here we go.


1. Keep your flowers away from the sun. We’ve all seen the antiquated image of a vase of flowers sitting on a windowsill. Little did we realize that we were watching their premature death. I know, I’m dramatic. Here’s the thing that you have to remember. Most fresh flowers are picked when they are just about perfect. The sun accelerates a flower’s maturity. Getting older leads to drooping and loss of petals. Because we want to freeze them in the stage that they are in, it’s best to move them away from direct sunlight.

2. Cut stems diagonally. This allows more surface area for the flower to absorb water.

flower stems cut diagonally

Number 3 is the new advice I’m going to try.

3. Cut the stems when you bring them home and give them a trim everyday. Stems get waterlogged sitting in the shop and then dry out on your way home. So cut off the dry damaged ends when you get home and continue taking about 1/4 inch off daily so that the ends always have healthy cells to absorb water. I usually cut mine once at the start and once when I get bored and want shorter stemmed bouquets.

These stems are really long so I take off quite a few inches

 4. Change the water every 2-3 days. Some sources have suggested every day, but that sucks for the environment. If we are taking from it, we should be willing to give back. I’ll tell you a better way to keep water longer in number 4.

I always add cubes of ice as cooler temperatures help them stay fresh. Look at that, a bonus tip.

5. Add apple cider vinegar to the water. Standing water collects bacteria and with the plant swishing all of its biological juices in there, it’s bound to get dirty. Apple cider vinegar is a highly effective natural bacteria killer.

6. Remove leaves that will be submerged in water. The water is working hard enough to feed your flowers, it doesn’t have time to clean up after you. Figure out where you’re water line is going to be, and remove any foliage that goes below that line. Decomposing leaves will obviously quicken the speed of bacteria spreading.

7. A spoonful of sugar. Flowers convert the sun’s rays into energy which they turn to sugar. Hmm is that why fruit are sweet?  So if your flowers start looking a bit droopy, a bit of sugar can perk them up.
8. Use the plant food packet that comes with the flowers. I always wondered if those packets of white prefer were just a dream they were selling. Turns out, every source I checked said yes, they are specially formulated with stuff to kill bacteria, sugar stuff, and string to help them drink water. I guess they forget how?

If you’d like to make some simple, homemade organic plant food, here’s a lovely site.

9. Store flowers in the fridge overnight. I know, I know, who has room in their fridge, right?! Well maybe that says something about us. It ain’t happening in my fridge.* There’s a reason why florists keep their darlings in the fridge. It keeps them fresh. As a matter of fact, it has been found to be by far the best method of keeping fresh flowers fresh the longest. Go figure. Hmm, maybe I’ll accept the challenge and rearrange my fridge, but I doubt it. (It ain’t gonna happen).

*Only during my zero dollars food challenge weeks might I be able to make things work.


I left the stems pretty long since I’m going to try out cutting them every day and I want to make sure that the height still works well.

I really loved making this post and photographing my flowers. Now they’ll last forever. I hope you’ll give fresh flowers a try if you aren’t doing so already.

If you don’t buy fresh flowers, why not? Or, do you have a favorite flower or color combination? Do you buy assembled bouquets or do you arrange them yourself? As always, I’d love to hear from you.

P.S. Stop and buy the flowers.