What is Vase Life

Vase life refers specifically to how long flowers last in the vase.  Some flowers last just a few days, while others will stay fresh in the vase for weeks.  While there are a few things you can do to increase the vase life of your cut flowers, the specific flowers all last different lengths of time.

Below are a few general times to use as a reference:

  • Rose – 5 to 7 days
  • Dahlia – 5 to 7 days
  • Gomphrena – 7 to 10 days
  • Lily – 5 to 10 days
  • Gerbera Daisy – 5 to 7 days
  • Tulip – 5 to 7 days
  • Sunflower – 5 to 7 days
  • Chrysanthemum – 7 to 14 days
  • Alstroemeria – 7 to 14 days
  • Hydrangea – 5 to 7 days
  • Iris – 5 to 7 days
  • Snapdragon – 5 to 7 days
  • Peony – 5 to 7 days
  • Freesia – 5 to 7 days
  • Calla Lily – 7 to 10 days
  • Gladiolus – 7 to 10 days
  • Anemone – 5 to 7 days
  • Daffodil – 5 to 7 days
  • Baby’s Breath – 7 to 10 days
  • Statice – 7 to 10 days

Flower farmers work hard to harvest flowers at the point where they will last as long as possible.  For this reason your flowers may still look a bit closed up when you first get them.  

Here are some general things you can do to increase the vase life of your flowers (note that not all these things help with every flower):

Properly Prepare the Stems: Trim the stems at an angle before placing them in water. This increases the surface area for water absorption. Remove any leaves that would be submerged in water, as they can promote bacterial growth.

Use Clean Water and Vase: Fill a clean vase with room temperature water. Adding floral preservatives to the water can provide nutrients and inhibit bacterial growth, extending the flowers’ lifespan.

Change the Water Regularly: Change the water in the vase every two to three days, or whenever it starts to look cloudy. This helps prevent bacterial growth and keeps the water fresh, which in turn keeps the flowers healthier for longer.

Provide Proper Conditions: Keep the flowers in a cool location away from direct sunlight, drafts, and heat sources. Exposure to excessive heat or sunlight can cause flowers to wilt more quickly.

Mist the Flowers: Spraying the petals of the flowers lightly with water can help keep them hydrated and fresh. However, avoid misting certain flowers that are sensitive to moisture on their petals.

What are Dirty Flowers?

Have you ever heard a flower called dirty?  This doesn’t refer to the amount of dirt on a flower.  A dirty flower is a flower that causes the water in the vase to become cloudy.  Some of the biggest culprits are zinnias, marigolds, sunflowers, daffodils, and dahlias.  No matter what type of flower you have, cleaning the water daily can help keep your flowers fresh and reduce the amount of debris in the water.  You can also add a  chlorine-based tablet to kill bacteria in the vase.

Some Plants are Toxic

Before you bring fresh flowers into your home, it’s important to note that some flowers are toxic.  This is especially important if you have pets or small children.  Some flowers are toxic when eaten, and some flowers will pass their toxicity into the water they are kept in.

It’s best to keep pets and children away from toxic flowers.  Here are a few common cut flowers that are toxic:

  • Oleander (Nerium oleander)
  • Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)
  • Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)
  • Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla)
  • Calla Lily (Zantedeschia spp.)
  • Daffodil (Narcissus spp.)
  • Monkshood (Aconitum spp.)
  • Rhododendron (Rhododendron spp.)
  • Autumn Crocus (Colchicum autumnale)
  • Lily (Lilium spp.)
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