Charlie Nardozzi

We all love the beautiful annual and perennial flowers of summer that our gardens are producing. And it’s always a treat to cut some of the best blooms and bring them indoors for display. But keeping those beautiful blooms looking good inside can be challenging. Often the flowers will wilt and fade after only a few days in the vase. Luckily, there are some tricks to keeping your fresh-cut flowers looking great for up to a week inside. The keys are providing some food (sugar) and keeping harmful diseases in check. Here are some helpful ideas:


  • Try home solutions. There are a myriad of home solutions for preserving cut flowers in a vase. They range from dropping a penny in the water to adding Listerine, aspirin, bleach, or apple cider vinegar. The whole idea behind these tricks is to add something that will kill any diseases that might clog up the vascular system of the flower stem and prevent it from taking up water. Combine these biocides with a sugar solution for food in the form of soda or sugar to make the stems last longer. Experiment with recipes to see what works best for you.
  • Use commercial flower foods. The alternative to using home solutions is to just add the type of plant food that is often included with commercial cut flowers. Such products contain both food and biocides to help the flowers stay fresh.
  • Change the water. Whether you use additives or not, changing the water every few days is key. This removes the disease-causing agents that can build up in the water.
  • Recut the stems. Before placing the stems in water, and whenever you change the water, recut the stems underwater. By cutting the stems underwater each time, you’ll avoid getting an air bubble in the stem, which can block the flow of water.
  • Burn the stems. Flowers such as rudbeckia, snapdragon, and aster are easy to keep fresh. But other flowers such as sunflower, zinnia, and celosia will benefit from having their stems burned with a candle flame after cutting; this step keeps the sap from oozing out of the stem.