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How to Make your Cut Flowers Last Longer

Flower season is just beginning!  

From early spring bloomers, to incredible workhorses that bloom all summer until frost, there are so many varieties to choose from.  

Flowers add a lot of colour to my garden. Some of my favourites include Sweet Peas and Matthiola, for their intoxicating scent and Cosmos, Zinnias and Nasturtiums for their stunning colours.  Flowers also have a list of benefits in the garden. Not only do they add colour and beauty, but they also attract beneficial insects needed for plant pollination.  Their benefits in the garden always place them top of my planting list each year.

Why not grow your own bed of cut flowers?  Harvest them when you harvest your veggies and bring them indoors to enjoy in bouquets.

If you would like to extend the life of your cut flowers, I have discovered an easy trick to help you do so. This method will often extend your bouquet’s health by at least a week.

How to Extend the Life of Your Cut Flowers:

The first step to extending the life of your cut flowers begins in the garden.  

Consider the time of day when harvesting your flowers. 

How to Make your Cut Flowers Last Longer

A fall bouquet of zinnias and marigolds.

The moisture level in the garden is highest in the morning.  The soil is moist, without being watered and your plant’s foliage is flushed with moisture. If you’re going to choose the best time of day for harvesting flowers, this is it!   Then, as the sun begins to rise higher in the sky, it takes the dew with it. Any moisture that accumulated on the soil will dry, along with anything left on the plant’s foliage.

By mid-day, the sun is high and the soil is dry (unless it rained!). If you wait to harvest your flowers in the afternoon, you are choosing the driest time for your plants. Harvesting at this time of day will cause your flowers to wilt quickly.

If you wait until evening, the dew will again begin to rise, causing the moisture level to increase in your flower plants.

If you have the option to choose the best time of day, harvest your flowers in the morning. If you’re busy and can only reach the garden around dinner time or later, this is the second best time of day to harvest your cut flowers.

What tools do you need when harvesting your flowers?

Tools:

  1. Sharp flower scissors
  2. Bucket or large pail

How to harvest your cut flowers?

How to Make your Cut Flowers Last Longer

A bouquet of summer flowers after being treated with boiling water.

The first thing to do is fill your flower bucket with very cold water. You don’t want to harvest your flowers and leave them to dry. Cold water will keep your flowers chilled and fresh for longer.  

Sharp flower scissors make a gentle clean cut, without squeezing, pressing or damaging the delicate flower stems. If harvesting long stemmed flowers, make your cuts at 2-inches from the base of the plant’s stems. If cutting a short stemmed or vining flower (like Sweet Peas), harvest at the base of the flower stem, without damaging the vine.

As you cut your flowers, place each stem in the flower bucket. Ensure the bucket is filled with at least 5 to 6 inches of very cold water. 

Tip:

Be sure to harvest your flowers regularly, as the more you harvest them, the more blooms they will produce. Failing to harvest your flowers will cause them to stop producing new blooms and form seeds instead.

What to do after bringing your flowers indoors?

Select a vase and fill it with several inches of cold water.

Leave the flowers in the water-filled flower bucket.  Fill a small soup pot with water and set it on the stove to boil.  As the water boils, remove each flower from the flower bucket and trim 1 inch off the bottom of each stem. 

How to Make your Cut Flowers Last Longer

Flower stems after being treated with boiling water. Notice the dark area after treatment.

One at a time, insert the tip of each flower stem into the pot of boiling water and hold it there for a 30-second count. Remove the flower stem and place it into your prepared vase.

Continue to do this for each flower stem, each time placing it into the vase after holding it in the boiling water for 30-seconds.

Boiling the base of each flower stem causes the plant’s cell walls to seal, temporarily preserving each flower.  This treatment extends the life of your flowers, some more or less than others, depending on the flower type.

I have observed a difference between boiled vs. non-boiled stem tips.  A boiling treatment has shown a significant difference in cut flower lifespan over non-boiled.

Growing your own cut flowers is a very satisfying experience. It’s wonderful to grow what you love!  Choose your favourites and plant them in your garden, then reward yourself with fresh-cut flower bouquets. The more you harvest them, the more flowers they will produce.  It’s a definite win-win for the garden and for you!

If you’re not growing your cut flowers from seed, that’s not a problem. Nurseries and garden centres will happily supply you with an abundance of flower plants.  Start with a few plants and expand from there. Then reap the rewards of gorgeous homegrown bouquets. 

You’ll be happy you did!

Are you including cut flowers in your garden plans? 

Happy Gardening!


Here are the tools that I mentioned in the post.

Disclaimer: The links to some of these tools are my affiliate links. Meaning, I will get a small commission at no extra cost to you, should you purchase the product through my affiliate link.
10 Proven Steps for a Successful Vegetable Garden

10 Proven Steps for a Successful Vegetable Garden

Having a vegetable garden that flourishes takes a big commitment. Learn how to create an enchanted kitchen garden oasis with these 10 proven steps.

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