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How to Keep Flowers Fresh: Care and Transportation Tips!

Leah Britt 30 Mar 2022
Girl trimming flower stems as part of our how to keep flowers fresh tutorial

How to Keep Flowers Fresh: Care and Transportation Tips!

So your long-awaited blooms have finally arrived on your doorstep - Now what?! Receiving flowers is an exciting experience, but it also poses the question: How do you keep them beautiful? We often receive this question, especially from those who are ordering flowers for weddings and events. Fear not, we've got all the tips and tricks you'll need on how to keep flowers fresh!

Taking care of your flowers starts the moment you open your box. It's important to prepare and store them properly in order to preserve their quality and extend their vase life! Here's our step by step guide on how to keep flowers fresh:

1. Remove your flowers from the box

When your boxes arrive, it's important that you get your flowers in water as quickly as possible. Open your boxes and remove any protective packaging, such as foam or paper, and cut any straps inside the box. (Pro tip: don't throw the boxes away quite yet — they will come in handy if you plan on transporting the flowers later.)

Cutting straps and opening flower box after delivery

2. Fill clean buckets with at least 4 inches of cool water

Gather clean buckets or containers to hold the flowers. Depending on the flower type, you may need different sized buckets and containers. For example, shorter stemmed flowers, like ranunculus, will need shorter and smaller vessels. Meanwhile, long-stemmed roses and greens will fit well in five gallon buckets.

One way to keep flowers fresh is to ensure that their buckets and containers are very clean. You can do this by rinsing them out with warm water beforehand. Then, filling the containers with at least 4 inches of fresh, cool water.

3. Keep your flowers fresh with flower food

Mix flower food in the water to prevent bacteria, and to give your flowers extra nutrients. When it comes to flower food, a little goes a long way! You can split a small packet of food between two, three, or even four buckets, depending on the amount of water and stems. If you don't have flower food, you can find some at any local florist.

Adding flower food to clean buckets of water to keep flowers fresh

4. Remove foliage that will fall below waterline

Did you know that leaves below the waterline can cause bacteria to form? This can shorten the life of your flowers! To keep your flowers fresh and you water clean, remove the foliage on the bottom half of your stems before placing them in their containers. You can remove them with sharp, clean flower shears or scissors.

5. Trim the stems of your fresh flowers at an angle

Next, trim about one inch off of the bottom of your stems at an angle. An angled cut creates a larger surface area for water absorption and prevents your stems from sitting flat in the container which will block water absorption.

How to keep flowers fresh: Trim their stems regularly at an angle

6. Place the flowers in your prepared buckets

Now you're ready to hydrate those blooms! Immediately after cutting the stem, place your flowers in the prepared water. Make sure that you have enough room in each bucket for the number of stems that you will be storing. You never want to overcrowd your containers, as this may damage the stems or impact the blooming process. Give your flowers room to bloom wide open!

7. Let your blooms hydrate for 4-12 hours

Finally, give your blooms at least four hours to hydrate. Just know that it can take as long as 8 to 12 hours for them to properly rehydrate! Check the water levels regularly, as flowers drink a lot of water when they first arrive, and their buckets may need a refill. Every 24 hours, change out the water and recut the stems to keep the flowers fresh.

Place flowers in fresh, cool water to keep them hydrated

8. Store your flowers properly to keep them fresh

Learning how to keep flowers fresh involves learning how to store them properly too! Most flowers should be kept in a cool, dry area leading up to the event. (If you are trying to speed up the blooming process, though, you'll want to introduce some light and warmth - just not direct sunlight.)

Some people believe that they need to keep their flowers in a refrigerator, but for the most part, that isn't necessary! The average household refrigerator is kept much colder than a florist's cooler, which runs the risk of damaging the flowers. In addition, most flowers are sensitive to ethylene gas (a gas that is emitted by fruits and vegetables) making the refrigerator a dangerous place for flowers. The exception to this is dahlias or peonies that are opening too fast upon delivery.

Speaking of peonies, these flowers require special care, so check out our post on Peony Flower Care for more information.

Store flowers in cool, dark area to keep them fresh

Videos on How to Take Care of Flowers

Still looking for some guidance on how to keep your flowers fresh? Or maybe you're still feeling a little nervous about the arrival of your flowers? We get it! Our YouTube channel is a great resource for anyone ordering flowers online. Here are two video tutorials that will guide you through the flower care process:

What to Do When Your Flowers Arrive Video eo

How to Care for Roses Video

How to Keep Flowers Fresh During Transportation

Often times, your blooms will need to travel to a venue or different location. If that's the case, you may be wondering how to keep flowers fresh as they move from point A to point B. Transporting flowers can be nerve-wracking! After spending so much time caring for them, and arranging them beautifully, you'll want to make sure they don't get damaged on the way to the big event! Luckily, there are ways to keep them beautiful and safe throughout the process.

Any arrangements that are already in a vases, such as centerpieces, are ready to go. For bouquets, place them in extra vases with just enough water to keep them hydrated without ruining the ribbon.

Once all your flowers are in vases, grab your empty flower boxes and get all the flowers ready for transport. Here's our tutorial on how:

1. Collect your empty flower boxes, and mark your X's

Start with an empty flower box. Shut the lid of the box, just like it was when it arrived on your door. Use a sharpie to draw X’s that represent where each vase will later fit into the box. You can usually fit 4 to 6 vases in one box, depending on the size of vase and arrangement. Your X marks should be slightly larger than your vase.

Reuse an old flower box to transport your arrangements

2. Cut along each X

Cut into your box along each of your Sharpie marks, creating X's with your blade.

Cut an "X" into your old flower box where the vase will go using a blade

Punch a hole through your cut out to make room for the vase

3. Punch through your cut and place your vases inside

Punch through each X cutout to reveal a space for your vase. Place your vase inside and - voila! - you now you have a secure way to carry up to six vases at once. This method keeps flowers fresh and upright as they travel in their water.

When you arrive at the venue, simply remove the vases, and display the flowers where they need to go!

Keep flowers fresh in their vase of water, and place them in your carrier for transport

Finished DIY flower carrier with three vases of fresh flowers for traveling

If you don't like this method, you can also use the bottom part of a sturdy box, and simply place all of your arrangements upright in the box. Keep the vases secure and protected by surrounding them in towels or newspaper. If you use this method, just make sure all your vases fit securely in the box, as you don't want them to shift around.

DIY flower carrier tutorial for safely moving fresh flowers

Other Tips for Traveling with Fresh Flowers

1.) Have two people carry your flower box, with one person at each end. As you carry the box, make sure to hold the bottom to keep your arrangements secure

2.) Always have someone sitting next to your flowers in the car, or as you travel. This person can keep an eye on the vases to make sure everything is staying safe and secure!

3.) Try to avoid leaving the arrangements in extreme temperatures. To keep the flowers fresh, move them straight from their cool storage area to a cool, dry vehicle. Avoid setting them in direct sunlight or a hot car, if possible!

4.) For larger arrangements, like arch pieces, that cannot be stored in vases, we recommend arranging them in floral foam. This will keep them hydrated as they travel, and as they are displayed at the event. The same rules apply - keep them cool, dry, protected, and secure in your vehicle.

Video Tutorial on How to Transport Flowers

The Experts in Fresh Flowers

Our flowers are as fresh as they come! FiftyFlowers' blooms ship FREE, directly from our partner farms to your arms. Before sending your flowers, we prepare them with proper hydration methods. If your flowers appear sleepy and thirsty after their journey, it's absolutely normal! Follow the above steps on how to keep flowers fresh to ensure the best quality and longest vase life possible.

Make sure to check out our Flower Care page for more tips and tricks on caring for flowers. If you have any concerns or questions as you order and receive your fresh flowers, don't hesitate to reach out! Our Customer Care team members are experts at all things related to fresh flowers.

Are you ready to start your floral journey? Start by scheduling a consultation with our expert florists who are dedicated to bringing your floral dreams to life. This personalized consultation is designed to understand your unique preferences, ensuring that every bloom chosen resonates with the essence of your celebration. Alternatively, immerse yourself in the world of do-it-yourself floral arrangements by exploring our specially curated DIY Combo Packs. These packs not only provide you with a diverse selection of exquisite blooms but also come with detailed guides and tips to unleash your inner floral artist. 

1 comment

21 Sep 2023 Anna

Thanks for sharing such a beautiful blog here. I read lots of blogs for the online flower delivery segment but your content about flower services & tips that you discuss here is appreciated. I’m glad about your knowledge of the flower industry it will help all online florists.

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