A vase full of sunflowers can brighten any room, but it's disappointing when they start to wilt and droop after just a few days. According to Grower Direct, cut sunflowers can last anywhere from five to 12 days. Taking proper care of your sunflowers can extend their life.
In most cases, a sunflower cut from your own garden will last longer than a sunflower from a store. To get the most life out of your cut sunflower, cut it just as the leaves start to open during the morning or evening. The flower has more moisture at those times.
When you buy a sunflower grown on a farm, you have less control over the factors that can help extend its life. The flowers should be transported in a cool truck to maintain freshness. In some cases, sunflowers at a store were cut several days in advance, which means that they won't last as long in a home. The freshest sunflowers may be at a farmer's market since it's likely the flower was cut that morning.
The Wilting Stem
A common problem with cut sunflowers is a wilting or drooping stem. This typically occurs near the top of the sunflower. The actual flower of the plant may still be in good condition, but the wilting stem makes the flower look like it is dying. To prevent this, place the sunflowers in a tall vase with lots of water. The added support on the bottom of the stem can help the top of the stem maintain its stiff shape.
Cut the stem at an angle. Remove any leaves from the area of the stem that you will submerge in water, which will prevent mold. You can also extend the life by re-cutting the ends of the flowers every few days and replacing the water in the vase.
Maggie McCormick is a freelance writer. She lived in Japan for three years teaching preschool to young children and currently lives in Honolulu with her family. She received a B.A. in women's studies from Wellesley College.