Keep your flowers fresh longer by following these techniques.

By Joyce Bautista and Helena Hong
Updated July 29, 2004
Credit: Alexandra Rowley
  1. Think of cut flowers like ice cream. Don't buy them unless you're rushing right home.
  2. Use clean vases and tools. Mold speeds up the decaying process in flowers. (Make sure everything is well rinsed, too, since soap changes the pH of the water.)
  3. Remove leaves that will be below the waterline. They promote bacteria growth that hinders circulation.
  4. Don't bother cutting stems underwater. Just have your vase ready. The difference in life span is inconsequential.
  5. Use a small hammer to smash the woody stems of flowers such as hydrangeas and lilacs so they can absorb water more easily.
  6. Flowers from bulbs do better in cold water.
  7. Don't mix daffodils with other flowers. They produce a sap that gums up other stems. (Soak daffodils for a few hours in a separate vase first if you plan to include them.)
  8. Force unopened flowers to bloom in minutes by putting them in very warm tap water.
  9. Wilted flowers, especially roses, can be revived by submerging them in cool water for a few hours.
  10. Flowers will look fresher longer if they're kept off TVs, appliances, and heating or cooling units, which give off heat that wilts them. Also keep them out of direct sunlight and away from hot or cold drafts.