How to Make Grocery Store Flowers Last

Katie Sweeney

While I love going to the flower mart and stocking up on fresh blooms for an event, for everyday matters, I normally buy fresh-cut flowers from the grocery store. Trader Joe’s has an assortment of blooms in every color at affordable prices, so I like to grab a couple of bunches, then head home and have fun arranging them.

However, it’s always incredibly disappointing when my pretty florals die one or two days after I’ve purchased them. Since this is a common problem that many a flower lover has to deal with, I decided to get some expert advice on the subject. I asked Marie Ackerman, the VP of education at flower delivery giant Teleflora, for her tips on how to extend the shelf life of fresh flowers. Here is what she had to say.

  • Properly prepare the vase. Fill it with about four inches of cool to room-temperature water. If it comes with floral food (the small packet that occasionally comes with a bunch of flowers), take a moment to add it to the water.
  • Always cut on the diagonal. Cut the stems of your flowers diagonally, about one inch up from the bottoms. This will give your stems more surface area to absorb the water and take in nutrition. If there are any thorns, don’t remove them.
  • Check what’s underneath the water line. Make sure that none of the bouquet’s leaves fall under the water line. If wilted or rotting leaves are in the water, it’s more likely that a harmful bacteria will develop and shorten your flowers’ life span.
  • Let the flowers hydrate. Place your plants in the vase and let them hydrate for at least a few hours before you move the bouquet around.
  • Keep in a safe place. Put the finished arrangement in a cooler area, away from direct sunlight or gusts of air.
  • Don’t forget about the water. Always make sure your fresh beautiful flowers have enough water. Change the water out every 24 to 48 hours.
  • Use household items to extend the flowers’ life. Drop a penny into the vase of water to keep your fresh bouquet looking its best. The copper’s acid acts as a natural antibacterial agent that prevents the growth of harmful bacteria in flowers. Adding aspirin or sugar is a good way to combat the aging process in fresh plants. The sugar provides nutrition and the aspirin increases the acidity in the water, which will help the water fight against gravity to make its way from the bottom of the stem to the rest of the plant. Other household items that work? Bleach, vinegar, or alcohol protect plants from mold and bacteria by keeping the water disinfected. Soda, on the other hand, can actually benefit your bouquet by providing nutrients (like sugar) and helping keep the blossoms looking their best. If you are using a clear vase, use clear liquids like white vinegar, lemon-lime soda, or vodka.

Place your flowers in a classic crystal vase.

What is your favorite bloom to have around the house? How do you make your floral arrangements last?

Explore: flowers, spring

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