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Extra attention helps cut flowers stay vibrant longer

Extra attention helps cut flowers stay vibrant longer

ALEXANDRIA—Cut flowers can brighten up your day—and your home. If you received fresh flowers this holiday season and want to keep them fresher longer, a little extra attention can go a long way.

Most floral arrangements will last four to seven days or longer, depending on the flowers used and the care they receive, according to the Society of American Florists, which is based in Alexandria. The organization notes that each cut flower variety has a different life expectancy.

Start with a clean, deep vase that has been washed with detergent or an antibacterial cleaning solution. Remove from the flower stems any leaves that will be below the water line. Leaves in water promote bacterial growth that can limit flowers’ water uptake. Using a sharp knife, cut 1 to 2 inches from the flower stems.

Use a floral food to keep flowers fresher. Floral food is a combination of additives that help to nourish the flowers and discourage bacteria from growing in the water. Follow the directions on the floral food package carefully, because if it is mixed improperly the product can do more harm than good. If the flower food solution becomes cloudy, replace it entirely with properly mixed solution.

For flowers arranged in a floral foam, keep the foam soaked with water so floral food added at the time of design by the florist will stay active.

Check the floral arrangement daily to make sure it has plenty of clear, fresh water. If possible, re-cut stems by removing 1 to 2 inches with a sharp knife or scissors that will not crush the stems.

Always keep flowers in a cool spot—65 to 72 degrees—and away from direct sunlight, heating or cooling vents, ceiling fans or appliances. Heat from appliances or hot and cold drafts cause flowers to dehydrate.

For more information on cut flowers, visit

Media: Contact Sara Owens, VFBF communications, at 804-290-1133.