How to Revive Cut Flowers

I originally published this tip in October 2012. It continues to garner multiple views each week. I’m sharing it again in case you missed it.

Hat-Pin Trick

gerbera daisy with pin

Hat-Pin Trick

Cut flowers, especially those with hollowed stems, often droop after a short time in water. Why? Because the stem is no longer siphoning water.

Simply insert a pin or needle all the way through the stem of a drooping flower, about one-inch below the bloom. Carefully remove the pin and return your flowers to a vase of water. Within an hour or two, your flowers should be standing tall. I’ve used this trick successfully over the years with Gerbera daisies, roses and tulips.

Gerber Daisies hat pin trick

Gerbera Daisies Revived: The yellow flowers perked up; but the orange ones did not.

Rubber-band Recovery

If for some reason the hat-pin trick fails, here is plan B. Gather the flowers into a loose bunch and slide a rubber-band over the stems and up to the neck of the flowers. Wrap a second band around the bottom of the stems. Return to the vase, and enjoy your perky arrangement.

cut flowers rubber-band recovery

Rubber-band Recovery in Action

Edit your Collection

I don’t know about you, but I like to get as much “life” from my cut flowers as possible. Most mixed bouquet flowers have varying shelf-lives. Some blooms fade within a few days while others can last up to a week, maybe longer. Instead of dumping the entire bouquet, I change the water and return the flowers that still have life. As those fade, I’ll cut the healthy flowers down by a few inches and display them in a smaller vase. If I have nice greens, I’ll see what’s blooming in the garden and I’ll mix the two together. I make a game out of it to see how long the flowers will last.

Do you have any tips or tricks you’ve used to preserve the life of your cut flowers? Please share in the comments, below.

33 thoughts on “How to Revive Cut Flowers

  1. I edit my collection Alys 🙂 Your birthday bouquet lasted over a month, just getting smaller and smaller. It was an absolute joy! I’ve got a vase full of lavender and rosemary on the table and will try the pin trick on the lavender as it droops. Maybe the wrong kind of flower but we will see. Thank you for the tips xoxo

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  2. The pin trick sounds very useful and I will try it next time I have droopy flowers – I often buy tulips in spring and sometimes they go over so quickly in the warm house. I also like to save whatever is still looking fresh and add a bit of greenery from the garden. I have heard that putting a teaspoon of sugar in the vase water helps, but I have no idea if this really works despite trying it myself!

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  3. aaargh, pressed send again to soon. Anyhue, Refreshing the water once a week and cutting a small piece of stems each time, keeps them going too a lot longer. And when half of the mixed bunch is still going, I just fill the vase up with a few nice branches from the garden. There…now I can press send;0)

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  4. Good tips Alys. At Corinthia Flowers, Adele adds a powder to the water to stop bacteria from growing, a florist usually sends some with your order in little packages. Ask for a couple so you can maintain your flowers longer. Also running a slow tap into the vase or arrangement to completely replace the water is good every other day. Out with the bad, in with the good. If it’s not arranged in a container in floral foam, a bundle of flowers can benefit by a fresh cut at the bottom of the stems. Besides cutting off the decaying part which causes bacteria in your vase, it can help them drink better too. Sometimes the greenery lasts much longer than the flowers. As they fade, I like to replace them with something new. Like if your roses in an arrangement pack it in, pull them out and replace with something else you love. Maybe Gerbs or tulips from the market. I’ve gathered these tips from Adele. She’s been in the biz for a while and so I figure she’s the expert.

    Don’t be too shy to return to a florist with an arrangement that fades to quickly. A good florist will take care to always use the freshest flowers but also happy to replace the odd rose if it only lasted 2 days. 😀 hugs k

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    • Wow, Boomdee, you and Adele are full of good tips. I’ve always been lucky with florist’s bouquets, but occasionally Mike brings home flowers from our local grocer and they fade quickly. I’ve often wondered if they were old flowers pushed to the front.

      Out with the bad, in with the good. Check!

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  5. I just came across this! Here’s another suggestion (it will sound weird, but it works): Fill a sink with warm (not hot) water. Take all of the flowers and submerge them completely – and re-cut the stems while they are submerged. I put a plate over the blooms to weight them down. Just leave them like that for an hour or longer. When you take them out, put them in a vase with water, a small amount of sugar and a small amount of something acidic – lemon juice, vinegar or even bleach (this replicates the stuff that florists use to provide nourishment and at the same time prevent bacteria/mold from growing). Your flowers will be as good as new and will last much longer. This works great on roses and most other flowers, but not all. You can google “homemade floral preservative” for the exact proportions of the water/sugar/bleach formula.

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    • Pam, thanks for the advice. I’ve heard variations of what to add to the water over the years, but not the reasons behind it. Acidic water makes sense. I like the idea of submerging the flowers too. I’ve never thought of that either. Thanks so much for sharing these ideas.

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