Gardenias are delicate flowers that produce white, pale yellow or pale purple petals. Gardenia petals can wilt easily, causing the flower to brown prematurely. Preserving your fresh-cut gardenias for a wedding, or for display in your home, does not require too much effort. With proper care, you may prolong the life of your gardenia floral arrangement, but typically gardenia flowers only last a few days once you cut them from their bush.
Handle the gardenias while wearing garden gloves and only holding them by the stem. Your body's natural oils will cause the petals to turn brown or wilt. You can also apply lemon juice to your bare hands to prevent the oils from your hands from transferring onto the petals. Wash your hands immediately after working with the gardenias so you don't accidentally touch your eyes while the lemon juice is on your hands.
Place the gardenias into a plastic container that offers ventilation holes to allow air to circulate. Do not use an airtight container. Place the plastic container into the refrigerator until you are ready to display the flowers. Be cautious not to place the flowers near fruit items as the ethylene gas released by the fruit may discolor the petals.
Fill a vase with fresh, cool water and place the gardenias into the vase. Change the water once a day to provide the gardenias with fresh water.
Avoid placing the flowers in direct sunlight. It may cause the water to become too warm, which will cause the gardenias to wilt prematurely. Sunlight can also cause the gardenias to dry out.