Fresh flowers are a wonderful addition to any space, providing a sweet aroma and bringing a piece of the great outdoors into your home. But there’s nothing sadder than wilted blossoms, cloudy vase water and scattered, lifeless petals on the table. We have a few tips to help keep your flora looking stunning long after bringing them home!

All the trimmings: First, you’ll want to make a new, angular cut about an inch or so into the stem. Not so quick, though! Ideally this should be done while your flowers’ stems are submerged in a bowl of water. Why? The open cut’s exposure to air will cause the area to seal itself, which will prevent the stem’s veins from getting all the nutrients it needs to stay alive and fresh. Many people use scissors to do this, but the pressure of a scissor can squish the stem, which will also prevent your buds from getting important nutrients. Use a sharp knife if possible and gardening shears for tougher rose stems, for example. Pluck any leaves that will be submerged in water and also make sure to remove any wilted or discolored petals. If you’re cutting your flowers straight from the garden, do so in the morning when temperatures are cooler. Ever wonder why florists keep their bouquets refrigerated? Well, flowers hold up better in cooler environments!

Water mixology: There is great debate over the perfect water “solution” to keep flowers thriving. Some will suggest a bit of bleach, others apple cider vinegar and many soda. What seems to work best in all these add-ins is the acidity and sugar. With that said, adding a little sugar with lemon can help extend the life of your flowers. A lemon-lime soda can also act in the same way since it contains sugar and the acidity of citrus. Flower food, those packets of mystery powder, are also a great option known to fight bacteria buildup. Just ask your florist for a few packets the next time you visit! For tulips, it is said that copper helps prevent bacteria growth so adding a penny to the bottom of your vase can help.

Maintenance: Maintenance is key. Change vase water regularly, every day or every other day. Make sure your vase is clean. The best way to do so is rinsing with hot water to eliminate any microorganisms lurking from your last bouquet. Mist your flowers with water every now and again to keep them looking alive. For flowers that need a lot of water, such as hydrangeas, if you change the water frequently enough, they can last up to three weeks!

Do you have a green thumb? How do you care for your cut flowers? Comment and share.