Ultimate Guide to Flower Care: Keep Your Blooms Fresh Longer

Nothing brightens a room like a bouquet of fresh flowers. Yet, the beauty of blooms is fleeting. Vianne Siu, our creative director at Flower Actually, unveils expert tips for flower care to extend the life of your flowers, transforming fleeting moments into lasting memories. Whether you're a fan of the classic elegance of roses, the cheerful vibrancy of tulips, or the lush allure of hydrangeas, this guide offers tailored advice to keep a wide range of popular blooms thriving


What you will learn:

  • Essential Tips for Vase Selection: Discover how the right vase material can extend the life of your flowers.
  • The Science of Flower Food: Learn how flower food works and how to make your own.
  • Optimal Watering Practices: Understand the right temperature and quantity of water for different flowers.
  • Effective Trimming and Pruning: Master the art of stem trimming and learn how to keep your flowers looking fresh.
  • Ideal Placement for Flowers: Find out the best spots in your home to place your flowers for maximum longevity.
  • Special Care for Popular Flowers: Get tailored care tips for roses, tulips, and hydrangeas.


Flower Care Preparations

Choosing the Right Vase: Material Matters

  • Material Impact: The material of your vase can affect the longevity of your flowers. For instance, glass vases are non-porous and don't hold bacteria as much as porous materials like unglazed ceramic or wood, which can shorten the life of your blooms.
  • Shelf Life and Vase Choice: Opt for a vase that supports the health of your flowers. Glass and glazed ceramics are excellent choices as they can be easily cleaned and don't harbour harmful bacteria that could degrade flower quality.
  • Cleanliness is Key: Regardless of the material, ensure your vase is thoroughly cleaned before use. A clean environment will help your flowers stay fresh longer, showcasing their beauty for as many days as possible.


The Power of Flower Food

Water is paramount to flowers, but it lacks the nutrients they need to stay fresh. That's where flower food comes in.


How flower food works

Flower food is not just a "nice-to-have"; it's a scientifically formulated mixture that serves a threefold purpose: feeding, hydrating, and preventing bacterial growth. When you mix the sachet of flower food into the water, it dissolves into a perfect blend of nutrients that flowers typically draw from the soil. This concoction typically contains three main components: sugars, acidifiers, and biocide.

The sugar in flower food acts as a carbohydrate source, providing the energy flowers need to sustain their metabolism, which continues even after cutting. This energy is crucial for maintaining vibrant petals and leaves. Acidifiers help to moderate the pH level of the water. The ideal pH level for most cut flowers is slightly acidic, which enhances their water uptake through the stems. Lastly, the biocide component is essential for protecting the water from harmful bacteria and fungi.

These microorganisms can clog the stems and prevent water absorption, leading to faster wilting and decay.

By understanding the science behind flower food, we can appreciate how this little packet of powder significantly extends the life and beauty of cut flowers.


DIY Flower Food Recipes:

Creating your own flower food is a simple and effective way to nourish your blooms if you've run out of commercial packets. Here are a couple of recipes you can whip up with common household ingredients:


The Sugar and Vinegar Solution:

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon white vinegar

1 quart of water

Dissolve the sugar in the water to provide energy for the flowers. The vinegar acts as an acidifier to lower the pH of the water and as an antibacterial agent to keep the water clean.


The Lemon-Lime Soda Mix:

¼ cup of clear lemon-lime soda (not diet)

¼ cup of water

A couple of drops of bleach

The clear soda provides the sugar needed for sustenance, while the water ensures the solution isn't too sticky or concentrated. A few drops of bleach will act as a biocide to keep the water free of bacteria and fungi.

Remember, these DIY mixes should be changed every few days to ensure that your flowers have access to fresh nutrients and clean water, just as they would with commercial flower food.


Water Wisdom for Flower Longevity


The Right Temperature and Quantity

Use Room Temperature Water: Flowers generally do best with water that's at room temperature. Cold water can shock some flowers, and hot water can harm the stems.

The amount of water to use for cut flowers can vary depending on the type and size of the flowers and the vase you are using. However, here are some general guidelines to help ensure your flowers get the right amount of water:

1. Fill the Vase:

As a general rule, fill the vase about half to two-thirds with water. This should be enough to cover the stems without causing too much of the stem to be submerged, which could accelerate decay.
2. Stem Length:
Ensure the water level is high enough to cover the cut ends of the stems. For most flowers, submerging 3 to 4 inches of the stem is sufficient.
3. Special Requirements:
Some flowers, like hydrangeas, drink a lot of water, so they may require the vase to be filled nearly to the top. Others, like tulips, need less water (about an inch or so), as they can rot if too much of the stem is underwater.

Note: flowers with woody stems, like hydrangeas and lilacs, may need more water than softer-stemmed flowers like tulips or daisies. Always consider the unique needs of the flowers you have for optimal care.


When and How to Change the Water 


Check Daily: 

Some flowers may drink water quickly, especially in the first few days after being cut. Check the water level daily and add more as needed to keep the stems submerged.


Change Water Regularly: 

Regardless of the initial amount, change the water completely every two days or when it gets cloudy to prevent bacterial growth and provide fresh nutrients if you use flower food.

Remember, these are general guidelines, and you should always consider the specific needs of the type of flowers you have. Always check for any special care instructions that might come with the flowers or that you can find from a reliable source.


Trimming and Pruning Techniques

 Trimming for Health:

  • The 45-Degree Rule: Cut stems diagonally to maximize water intake. A diagonal cut increases the stem's surface area, enhancing water absorption and prolonging the flower's life. Vianne Siu suggests, "Think of it as opening more doors for water to enter, keeping your flowers hydrated and happy."
  •  Benefits of Trimming in Water: Submerging stems during trimming prevents air from entering the vascular system. This is crucial because air blocks can stop water from rising up the stem, leading to quicker wilting.
  • Regular Trims: Refresh the cut every few days to prevent blockages and encourage water absorption.


Pruning for Perfection

  • Leaf Management: Strip leaves below the water line to prevent decay.
  • Petal Patrol: Gently remove wilting petals to maintain a fresh appearance and prevent mould.


Placement and Environment

Where should I put my flowers (or where I should not )

Ideal Placement:

  • Avoid the Sun:Direct sunlight can dehydrate flowers; opt for a cool, shaded spot.
  • Drafts and Heat:Keep your flowers away from vents and appliances that could cause rapid wilting.
  •  Fruit-Free Zone:Ethylene from ripening fruit can prematurely age your flowers, so keep them separate.


Special Care for Popular Flowers

Roses: The Timeless Beauties

  • Thorn Care: While removing thorns can help prevent bacterial growth, it can also create wounds that allow bacteria in. If possible, leave the thorns on and handle with care.
  • Water Wisdom: Change the water every two days to keep roses fresh. Use lukewarm water to encourage the stems to drink up.
  • Stem Strategy: Cut rose stems at a 45-degree angle about an inch from the bottom while submerged in water to prevent air from entering the stems.
  • Leaf Logic: Remove leaves below the waterline to reduce bacterial growth without stripping the stem bare, which can stress the rose.


Tulips: The Springtime Stars

  • Stem Support: Tulips continue to grow after being cut, so trim the stems slightly every few days to maintain your desired height.
  • Chill Factor: Store tulips in a cool room away from direct sunlight and heat, which can cause them to droop.
  • Water Level: Keep the water level low—tulips only need their stems to be submerged about an inch or two, as too much water can cause rotting.
  • Rotation Routine: Tulips tend to bend towards the light, so rotate your vase daily to keep stems straighter.



  • Hydration for Hydrangeas: True to their name, hydrangeas require ample water to stay vibrant. They can drink a lot of water, so check their levels daily.
  • Revival Technique: If your hydrangeas begin to wilt, submerge them in lukewarm water for about 45 minutes. This can often revive them and restore their fullness.
  • Stem Treatment: Cut hydrangea stems at a sharp angle and crush the ends; this allows for better water absorption to keep them hydrated longer.
  • Avoid Heat: Keep them away from direct sunlight and heat sources, as these can dehydrate the flowers quickly.


Wrapping Up: Easy Steps for Beautiful Blooms

In conclusion, keeping your flowers fresh and beautiful is easier than you might think. By following the tips from Vianne Siu, you can make your flowers last longer and look their best.


Easy steps for beautiful blooms :

  1. Choose the right and clean vase filled with fresh water.
  2. Add flower food into the water to keep your flowers looking their best for longer.
  3. Keep the flower stems in lukewarm water.
  4. Use a clean and sharp knife or a pair of scissors to cut 2-3cm off the stems at a 45-degree angle.
  5. Remove leaves below the water line in the vase.
  6. Change the water and re-cut the stems every two days.
  7. Keep your flowers away from direct sunlight and hot locations.

Flower Care Steps infographic by Flower Actually


Remember, it's all about the basics: choosing the right vase, cutting stems correctly, changing water regularly, and placing your flowers in the right spot. Each flower has its own needs, but with a little care and attention, you can keep them blooming beautifully.

So, next time you bring home a bouquet or receive flowers as a gift, use these simple flower care tips. You'll be amazed at how long your flowers can last, bringing color and joy to your home. Happy flower caring!