Success Using Cut Flowers

Success using cut flowers is easy if you follow a few basic steps. Perhaps you purchased a bouquet or were the lucky recipient of flowers, but they only lasted a few days. Follow these simple step-by-step instructions to increase the longevity of your bouquet.

floral shears
Make a fresh cut at a 45 degree angle while holding the stem under water.
  • Start with a clean vase. Kill any bacteria by sterilizing the container with 1 part bleach to 10 parts water and then rinse several times with hot water.
  • Use sharp by-pass pruners or floral shears to make a fresh cut at a 45 degree angle removing the lower one to inches of the stem. Make the cut while holding the cut end under water.
  • Strip off any leaves that will sit below the water line of the vase to prevent bacterial growth.
  • Mix floral preservative with water according to directions using warm water (100 to 110 degrees F). Don’t use warm water with tulips and hyacinths; use cold water instead. Avoid using water from a water softener because of the sodium content. Insert flowers in the container with the prepared water as soon as you make the fresh stem cuts.
  • Place flowers in a cool shady area, away from drafts and vents.
  • Keep flowers away from ripening fruit because the ethylene from the fruit will shorten the life of the
    daffodils as cut flowers
    Daffodils, like this Soleil d’or, should not be mixed with other flowers because of the sticky sap they exude.


  • Don’t mix daffodils with other cut flowers because they exude a sticky sap that prevents water uptake.
  • Make a fresh cut in the stem end as described above every two to three days and replace with fresh water. Clean the vase if necessary, especially if the water becomes cloudy.
  • Click here for more information on having success with cut flowers.

Create your own garden for cuts: Create your own cutting garden by incorporating the right flowers into your landscape. Examples include dianthus, marigold, snapdragon, sunflower, and zinnia. Check out information on annuals that make good cut flowers by clicking here. Select flowering perennials that also make good cut flowers. You probably have some of these in your landscape: agapanthus, coneflower, crinum lily, ginger, iris, salvia and jacobinia. Check for information on perennials by clicking here.




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Posted: February 7, 2018

Category: Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Home Landscapes, Horticulture, UF/IFAS Extension
Tags: Cut Flowers

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