Fresh Flower Tips and Tricks

If I lived near a Trader Joe’s, our home would never be without a vase of fresh flowers. We always make a stop when we visit Ben’s sister in Des Moines, and I always bring home a fresh bouquet (and a few bags of Orange chicken… and some Cookie Butter… and a box of wine). Their flowers are affordable and they have the best seasonal arrangements. I’ve slowly killed gotten rid of all of the plants in our home, but the minimal commitment and care required for fresh flowers is something I can get on board with, black thumb and all.

Sometimes I see women post pictures of a vase of flowers with the caption, “I hope I can keep these things alive!”. This usually makes me, the serial plant killer, laugh because a bouquet can survive with almost no care, and can last longer than you might expect with a few easy steps.

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Here are a some tips from Law and Michael Gaffney, founders of the New York School of Flower Design, that will keep your grocery store flowers lookin’ fresh. You probably already have everything you need!

Step 1: Add 1 quart warm water to a clean vase.

Step 2: Pour 2 Tbsp sugar into the water. The sugar will help nourish the flowers and promote opening of the blooms.

Step 3: Add 2 Tbsp white vinegar and stir well. The vinegar helps inhibit the growth of bacteria and keeps your flowers fresher longer. If you don’t have vinegar and/or sugar, lemon-lime soda mixed with the water will do the same thing.

Step 4: Remove all lower leaves from flowers so there won’t be any in the water.

Step 5: Cut 1 to 2 inches off the stems at an angle while they are under water.

Step 6: Arrange your flowers in the vase.

Step 7: Display your bouquet in a cool, draft-free area. Avoid direct sunlight, which causes the flowers to die more quickly.

Step 8: Change the water every other day and re-cut the stems each time.

Step 9: Enjoy your long-lasting flowers!

These steps are super easy and will extend the life of your blooms. If you’re not up for the extra work, just be sure to snip the ends and get the flowers in water as soon as you can. Hardy blooms like carnations and chrysanthemums can last three to four weeks when they’re tended to, and are often the cheapest option at the grocery store. Next time you make a grocery run, treat yo’ self to a small bouquet and try these tips for yourself!


A reader recently commented on my bouquet of tulips and suggested putting a penny in the bottom of the vase to keep them from flopping over! Tulips still grow while they’re in the vase, so they require more trimming, but I’m excited to see if the penny helps them stay strong! Do you have any tips for prolonging the life of a bouquet? Share in the comments below if you do! 

With love,

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