5 Farmer-Florist Secrets for Keeping Cut Flowers Looking Fresh

Part of what makes us appreciate a vase of flowers, I think, is the fact that they are so ephemeral, with some blooms lasting less than a week. But whether you’ve gotten them as a gift, purchased your flowers at the farmers market or the supermarket – or better yet, grown them in your own backyard – you’ll want to keep them looking fresh and colorful for as long as possible. Below is a list of five ways that flower farmer-florists like us do just that.

But before we get to the five steps, here is a picture of a Sweet Piedmont bouquet that was left over from the farmer's market. I used the tricks listed below to keep it looking happy and healthy for well over a week (keep reading to see what this same bouquet looked like, more than a week after this initial picture was taken).

A Sweet Piedmont flower bouquet, fresh from the farmers market.

Five steps for getting your cut flowers to last:

  1. Cut about half an inch (one centimeter) off the bottoms of the flower stems, right before putting them into fresh water. This clean cut allows the “drinking straw” structures within the stem to more efficiently pull water up into the flower, which is what prevents the bloom from wilting. Also, make sure you’re using a cutting tool that is sharp enough – and strong enough – to give you a clean cut. A mangled, crushed end defeats the whole purpose of making a fresh cut, as it will block the flower’s ability to pull water up into the stem.