Cutting and Maintaining Flowers in a Vase

Nothing is quite as delightful or rewarding as a vibrant bouquet of freshly cut flowers from your garden adorning a room. However, to ensure the longevity and beauty of your bouquet, it’s essential to follow proper cutting and maintenance techniques. In this guide, I’ll go through my tried and tested tips for cutting and maintaining flowers that will help you make the most of your freshly cut blooms so you can enjoy them for longer! 

flower bouquet

Choosing the Right Flowers

When selecting flowers for cutting, opt for blooms that are in their prime and have yet to open fully. Look for vibrant colours, healthy petals, and sturdy stems.

Roses, lilies, dahlias, zinnias, and sunflowers are popular choices for cut flowers due to their durability and long vase life.

sweet peas

When is the best time to cut fresh flowers?

Cutting flowers early in the morning or late in the evening when temperatures are cooler is crucial to achieve ultimate freshness.

Avoid cutting flowers during the day’s heat, as they may be dehydrated and less likely to last long.

summer flowers

What to use when cutting flowers?

To ensure clean cuts and minimize damage to the plants, use sharp, clean pruning shears or floral scissors specifically designed for cutting flowers. Dull blades can crush the stems, making it harder for flowers to take up water.

Proper Cutting Technique

Choose a stem length suitable for your vase and desired arrangement when cutting flowers. Cut the stems at a 45-degree angle, which increases the surface area for water absorption.

Trim excess foliage from the lower part of the stem, as leaves left submerged in water can cause bacterial growth.

purple flowers in a vase

Water Matters

Water is the lifeline for cut flowers. Fill a clean vase with fresh, room-temperature water and add floral preservatives or a homemade solution. Floral preservatives contain nutrients to nourish the flowers and help control bacteria.

A homemade solution can be made by mixing one teaspoon of sugar, one teaspoon of bleach, and two teaspoons of lemon juice with a quart of water. 

How often should you change the water in a flower vase?

To maintain the freshness of your cut flowers, make sure to replenish the water regularly. Change the water in the vase completely every two to three days.

It’s important to note that flowers have a high water consumption rate. It’s not uncommon for a sizable flower arrangement to quickly absorb all the water in the vase within one to two days after being placed in it.


Conditioning and Maintaining Flowers

Following these conditioning steps before placing flowers in a vase enhances their lifespan. First, fill a sink or basin with water and submerge the stems. Let them soak for at least 30 minutes, allowing the flowers to hydrate fully.

Then recut the stems at a 45-degree angle before transferring them to the vase. Finally, remove any foliage that will be below the waterline, as submerged leaves promote bacterial growth.

Proper Placement

Consider the following placement tips to keep your cut flowers looking their best. Keep flowers away from direct sunlight, as excessive heat can wilt them prematurely.

Avoid placing flowers near ripening fruits, as ethylene gas released by fruits can shorten the lifespan of blooms. Ensure the vase is stable and placed on a flat surface to prevent accidental tipping.

How to prolong the lifespan of cut flowers?

Extend the life of your cut flowers with these extra tips. Mist the petals with water using a spray bottle to increase humidity and prevent dehydration. Avoid placing flowers near heating or cooling vents, as extreme temperature changes can stress the blooms.

Remove any wilted or decaying flowers from the arrangement promptly to prevent the spread of bacteria.

How to rejuvenate and maintain cut flowers?

Don’t lose hope if your flowers start to sag or wilt. Recut the stems and place them in hot water briefly to revive them. Then transfer them back to room temperature water.

Consider using flower food or adding a small amount of lemon-lime soda to the water, as the sugar and citric acid can provide a temporary energy boost to the flowers. Change the water more frequently, ensuring it is clean and free from any decaying matter.


Cut flowers can bring joy and beauty to any space, and by following the proper techniques for cutting and maintaining them in a vase, you can prolong their lifespan and enjoy their splendour for longer. Remember to choose fresh blooms, use sharp tools, provide clean water with nutrients, and pay attention to proper placement and care.

With these tips, your cut flowers will continue to radiate their charm, making your surroundings more vibrant and inviting. So go ahead, indulge in the beauty of nature, and let the magic of cut flowers enchant your home!

If you would like to watch more videos and pick up some more garden tips, check out the Cottage Garden Playlist on YouTube, where you will find a new video every Sunday! Or click here for more garden posts.


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