Keeping Cut Wedding Flowers Fresh

Beautiful Fresh Flowers for an LDS wedding
Photo Courtesy of Dayna Carroll Photography

Fresh flowers brighten a room like nothing else! But it’s always a little sad to see a beautiful bouquet wilting. Here are a few tips to help you keep your flowers fresh a little longer.

First of all, get your water ready. Fill a vase with clean water – cold water is best for bulbs (like tulips or daffodils) and lukewarm for other flowers. Add that little packet of commercial flower food if one came with your flowers. Despite all of the wives’ tales about bleach, pennies, and aspirin, the flower food really is the best way to feed your flowers and keep them looking their best!

Next, remove all the leaves and any branches or flowers that will be below the water line. Otherwise, they’ll encourage bacteria growth and get slimy, not to mention ugly!

Now, cut off the bottom inch or so of the stem at an angle. This increases the surface area so the flower can absorb more water. Use a sharp, serrated knife or shears and place the flower immediately into the water you prepared. You can even cut the stems underwater so no air bubbles get in…
(roses especially appreciate that!).




Flowers with woody stems, like lilacs, dogwood, or azalea may need a little extra attention. After cutting off the end of the stem at an angle, cut vertically up the stem, as well. An inch should be about enough. If they’re really thick and tough, smash the bottom with a hammer. It seems extreme, but you’re making it easier for the flowers to drink their water and stay alive longer!

Remember to keep your flowers away from direct heat and sunlight, preferably in the coolest area available. Your flowers will stay fresher if you trim the stems every few days and replace the water with fresh water and plant food at least every other day.

If you pick up the flowers for your wedding party early, make sure you have a way to keep them both vertical and cool. After an hour or two laying down in a hot car, your flowers will not look very good!


There are a few other special cases. For flowers with hollow stems (think amaryllis or delphinium), pour water into the stem and then cover the bottom with your finger or plug it with cotton until the stem is underwater to keep them fully hydrated.


The stems of “milky” flowers like poppies or hollyhock should be sealed by dipping in boiling water for 30 seconds or seared with a match to help them retain nutrients better.


Avoid the nodes on carnations and similar flowers: the tissue there is tough, so they’ll absorb water better if you cut between them. You may also want to remove the pollen-covered stamens from lilies to prevent stains on clothes or tablecloths.


Daffodils will need their own vase – they give off a compound that’s toxic to many other flowers. And finally, keep your flowers away from fruit! It releases ethylene gas which causes flowers to wilt faster.

Keep these tips in mind and your flowers will stay fresh and beautiful longer!

♥ Emily H. Geddes
Exclusively for
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