“How do I take care of fresh flowers?” is one of the questions we hear almost every day. There are a lot of common misconceptions out there about flower care—some we were even guilty of believing ourselves before becoming florists and studying flower care!

Florists have a lot of tricks up their sleeves on caring for flowers. Some are specific to individual flower varieties (for example did you know that hydrangea can drink water through their petals?!)

But there are a few tried and true florist flower care tips that apply almost universally for all fresh cut flowers, and are easy for you to implement at home. Here are our top 3 tips on caring for flowers—

Our #1 Flower Care TipKeep Flowers Out of The Sun

A warm pastel bouquet of flowers with a The Sun tarot card

One of the fastest flower killers? The sun! (No, not the tarot card The Sun—the actual sun!)

People are always shocked to hear this one, which is why it’s our #1 tip. It’s easy to assume that flowers love the sun since plants need sunlight to live and grow. But that’s exactly the same reason sunlight is bad for fresh cut flowers—it helps the flowers bloom faster, which then makes them die faster.

When storing flowers at Ritual Floral, if we have more flowers than room in our coolers, we at least make sure to store all our flowers in the dark. We want to lengthen the lifespan of our fresh cut flowers, and limiting sunlight will slow down their life cycle and keep them looking beautiful longer.

So for you flower lovers at home, that means keep that vase of fresh flowers away from sunny windows.

Flower Care Tip #2Keep Flowers Cool

A pavé vase arrangement of purple roses

Speaking of coolers… if you’ve ever walked into a florist’s shop or the floral section of a grocery store, you may have noticed that flowers are often stored in coolers. This is because cool temperatures preserve the life of flowers.

There’s quite a bit of science behind it, but the simple summary is this—flowers need less food to survive in cooler temperatures, and thus can live off their own food reserves for longer. For most flowers, the best temperature to store them at is just above freezing, or about 35F.

Most of us don’t keep our homes at 35F, but the concept is still useful—the cooler your flowers are kept, the less food they’ll need to survive, and the longer they’ll last.

So for most people, we simply recommend keeping flowers in a cooler area of your home. This generally means away from heating vents in the winter, and in rooms where the A/C is strongest in the summer.

Flower Care Tip #3Give Flowers Fresh Water

A blue glass vase with cool pastel flowers

One of the first jobs newbie florists are given is cleaning buckets and changing water. It’s not glamorous work, but it’s so very important. Why?

Bacteria is a huge killer of flowers, which is why florists put a lot of time and effort into keeping the water for their flowers fresh, and their vases and tools clean. Bacteria will grow in flower water, and the flowers will suck up that bacteria through their stems when taking a drink, making them die faster.

This is why our third tip in caring for flowers is to change their water every 24–48 hours. This little bit of effort will help extend the life of your flowers by a huge amount.

Changing Water for Hand-Tied Bouquets

When you order a hand-tied bouquet from Ritual Floral, you’ll notice that all the flowers are taped together at their base. This serves two purposes. First, it’s how we ensure that every flower stays perfectly in place, so you receive a beautifully designed bouquet. Second, it makes it super easy for you to change the water daily, because all you have to do is lift up that perfectly contained bouquet, dump the dirty water, and plop that baby back into fresh water. So easy!

Changing Water for Vase Arrangements

Changing the water in a floral vase arrangement can be a little trickier, as the flowers have all been meticulously placed with care by a floral designer. Taking them all out of the vase to change the water would ruin the design, and can actually be quite difficult depending on the mechanics the floral designer used to keep them in place. So how do you change the water?

Here’s what we recommend: Try to find a small gap in flowers in the arrangement, or at least a spot where the flowers are less abundant. Place the enter arrangement in your kitchen sink, with the faucet placed over that small flower gap. Turn the water on, and let the water run for a minute or so, allowing the water to over flow so that the old water is eventually all replaced with fresh water.

Flowers are Ephemeral

A detail shot of a mixed arrangement of warm pastel flowers

Flowers are ephemeral, and we’d argue that that’s part of their beauty! But that doesn’t mean we can’t try to make them last a little longer. Florists certainly do!

We hope these tips on how to care for flowers like a pro will help you get a little more time out of your beautiful arrangement.

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A woman from the shoulders down in a pink floral-patterned dress holding a colorful bouquet of flowers

Ritual Floral is an otherworldly floral studio based in Milwaukee, WI.

We've combined our love of flowers with our love for magic to create transcendent floral arrangements inspired by tarot, crystals, and all things magical.

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