When you get a nice gift of cut flowers, or you cut your own arrangement from the garden, use a few basic methods to preserve the blooms and make them last longer. Even without the help of florist preservatives, you can enjoy your cut flowers for extended periods of time if you know how to treat them immediately after cutting, how to condition their water and what are the best locations to display them.
Use cold water and fill up the vase. Heat will open the flowers quicker than you want.
Place them in a shaded, cool spot. Direct sun and warmth will open them fast. If setting them out for a party or special occasion, store them in a refrigerator until the time of the event.
With woody stemmed flowers like roses, cut back a few inches so the newly cut area will draw water. Remove excess leaves as well so they don't need extra water. For fleshy moist stemmed flowers like poppies singe the tip where you cut it as soon as you can. You can do this with a lighter or match. The key with fleshy stems is to seal moisture in the stems. Woody stems keep drawing well. Moist stems usually don't draw well and need to be sealed to last longer.
Add lemon or lime soda, or tonic water in the vase. This will act as a preservative for the flowers.