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Cut Flower Care: Tips from a Professional

Jennifer Morris

When something is enjoyable it’s natural to want to squeeze every last drop out of it! From celebrations to culinary experiences to flowers, it’s important to make the most out of what you have so you can savor the joy as long as possible. You’ve just brought home or had a stunning floral bouquet delivered, now what? Here are some do’s and don’ts of cut flower care from a pro.

Jennifer Morris


  • Cut your fresh flowers with sharp shears or a knife. You never want to damage the part of the stem that is responsible for pulling in water, so a sharp cutting tool is a must!
  • Use the packet of floral preservative that comes with grocery store fresh cut flowers. Places like Trader Joe’s typically include a packet with their fresh flowers, and the preservative does help your cut flowers thrive longer.
  • Add water to your arrangement every day. Flowers are heavy drinkers! Don’t believe me? Try this experiment that I did at home: mark the water line from one day to the next. I found that floral arrangements drink almost half the water in the container every day
  • Place small packaged florals (like corsages and boutonnieres) in the refrigerator but only if they are in an airtight container.
  • Always remove brown or wilted stems as the flower arrangement ages. This helps reduce the amount of ethanol gas exposure as much as possible.
  • Give the flowers a fresh cut as they age. Older flowers often end up with mushy or dark colored, decaying stems. This is a sign that the cells at the end of the stem are tired of doing all the work of drawing in water. A fresh cut gives the stem new life and a refreshed set of cells to do the “drinking” for the flowers.


  • Never hack away at flower stems with dull kitchen scissors. (You know who you are!) This will destroy the stems, which is really, really bad.
  • You don’t need to add floral preservative to a pre-made arrangement from a florist. A good florist will have already added it. We always do!
  • Don’t forget to add water! The fastest way to kill cut flowers is to forget to add water to the arrangement each day.
  • Never, ever leave flowers in direct sunlight. Pretend they are like vampires…the sun is bad! Don’t leave them near a heat source, either.
  • Don’t leave your fresh cut flowers next to fresh fruit. Little known fact: ethanol gas will make the flowers die prematurely!
  • Never put flowers in your standard refrigerator! Yes, we keep them in the fridge however floral refrigerators have a wet-coil system that produces moisture which is good for the flowers. The only exception to this rule is florals in air tight containers, as mentioned above.

And there you have it! It’s pretty simple, don’t you think? With a little TLC and plenty of water, your cut flower arrangement will last for at least a week, and often even longer than that. For a step by step cutting example, check out my short video with local luxury realtor Dawn Tollus. You can see exactly how I cut flower stems, and even learn which tool I recommend you use at home!

Did you know that our flowers come with a Freshness Guarantee? We promise that your flowers will be fresh, or we will replace them at no cost to you. Give our flower subscription service a try, and put your newfound cut flower skills to good use!