How to keep cut flowers fresh

Flowers are a big expression of love – they deserve better sludge green water as their home

How to keep cut flowers fresh

While a bouquet of fresh flowers will never live forever, they’ll do much better if you know how to keep bouquets fresh. With our step-by-step guide and top tips, including tricks for how to keep roses alive, you’ll learn the secret to keeping cut flowers fresh for longer.

Keeping cut flowers fresh in transit

If you’re transporting your bouquet yourself, you’ll want to know how to keep flowers fresh on their journey. Simply wrap the cut ends of the stems in damp kitchen roll, and place out of direct sunlight.


Use kitchen roll that’s strong and super absorbent, like Plenty The Original One. It will help stop the stems sucking up air and dust.

Step-by-step guide for how to keep cut flowers fresh

Follow these easy steps and you’ll keep flowers fresh for longer:

  1. Clean your vase. Put on your rubber gloves and use hot water with a little bleach or liquid soap to wash your vase with a sponge. Let it air-dry upside down.

  2. Let the water sit. It’s fine to fill your vase with tap water, but it’s a good idea to let the water settle before adding your blooms. That will allow air bubbles to escape – otherwise they can block water uptake. It also allows the water to come to room temperature – flowers are more efficient at taking in warmer water.

  3. Add flower food. Proper flower food is made up of bleach (to get rid of bacteria), sugar (for energy) and citric acid (to dissolve air bubbles and balance the water’s PH level).

  4. Prepare the stems. Measure the right height by placing stems next to the vase. Remove foliage below the waterline, to avoid bacteria growth. Cut the stems at an angle with something sharp – this ensures the stem isn’t crushed, and creates a larger opening for food and water. Then, place them straight into the water.

  5. Choose the perfect location. Your flowers will like a cool spot, away from drafts, direct sunlight and radiators. Keeping them away from fruit is also an important part of knowing how to keep flowers alive – fruit releases ethylene gas, which poisons cut flowers.

The best way to keep flowers fresh based on type

A clean vase and the right food will help all types of cut flowers thrive. However, things get more specific when it comes to how much water to put in the vase. Find out how to keep flowers alive with our handy guide to flower type care:

  • How to keep roses alive. Flowers with woody stems (like roses) prefer a deep drink, so fill the vase two thirds full. Remove their outer ‘guard’ petals, taking care not to touch the inner petals.

  • How to keep tulips alive. Flowers with softer stems (like tulips) prefer a shallower drink, so fill the vase just under half way. Since they bend towards light, rotate your vase daily, and place them in a tall vase that supports two thirds of the stem length to help restrict their natural bend.

How to keep flowers fresh with proper maintenance

You’ve done all the hard work setting up the perfect environment for your flowers, but the care doesn’t stop there! Checking them regularly is a key step in how to keep cut flowers fresh for as long as possible.

Check every couple of days, and top up water. If the water is cloudy, refill the vase with fresh, following the instructions above. Hold the stems rather than the heads to move your blooms, and use a clean fork or spoon to remove fallen foliage. Cut at least an inch from the bottom of the stems before placing them back in clean water.

Now you know how to keep a bouquet fresh, you can look forward to beautiful blooms for longer.

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