10 Secrets to Keeping Grocery Store Flowers Fresh

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Nothing brightens a room like a bouquet of fresh flowers. Go ahead and put flowers on the grocery store shopping list because a pretty arrangement doesn't have to cost a fortune, and you don't have to wait for a special occasion. If flowers still feel like a splurge, then read on for the secrets to taking care of an arrangement and getting the most life out of your blooms. With these 10 simple tips your grocery store bouquet will stay fresh for days!

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1. Buy Wisely

The flower selection is often limited at the grocery store. If possible, buy flowers with hardier blooms that are more likely to last, like carnations or lilies. Stick to one floral color if flower arranging makes you nervous and then round out the bouquet with long lasting greenery or baby's breath.

After picking out your flowers, keep the ends moist for the ride home. If the stems don't have a plastic tube on the end filled with water then wrap them with a wet paper towel.

2. Prep Your Vase

Pick out your vessel — like a simple jar or a pretty pitcher — and wash it with hot soap and water. Bacteria is your nemesis for keeping flowers fresh, so be sure that the container is clean.

3. Fill With Room Temperature Water

Yes, flowers can be a little finicky — making sure the water is neither too hot or too cold makes a difference in extending the life of your arrangement. To keep your flowers happy, fill the vase with room temperature water. And if possible, use filtered water.

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4. Use Plant Food

If your flowers came with a packet of flower food, definitely add it to the water. Didn't get one? No worries. You can DIY your own flower food at home.

Flower food provides nutrition for the flowers and also helps to slow down bacterial growth. To make your own flower food, add a few drops of bleach, vodka or apple cider vinegar (to fight bacteria), and a few drops of clear soda like Sprite or a tiny pinch of sugar (to feed the flowers).

5. Prep Your Flowers

Prep the flowers by giving the bottom of all of the stems a diagonal cut of at least a 1/2 inch with sharp scissors. Air bubbles get trapped at the base of the stems, which limits the flower's ability to draw in water. A quick trim removes the blockage so the flower can suck up the fresh water supply, which is key to staying fresh longer. Before new air bubbles can form, move quickly to this next step.

6. Immediately Place Stems in Water

Have the vase and water ready to go because you should place the flowers in water immediately after trimming the ends to help keep new air bubbles from forming. One trick is to arrange the flowers before cutting them. Hold the bouquet in one hand and position the flowers to your liking. When you're happy with how it looks then cut the ends with the other hand and quickly stick the stems in water.

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7. Remove Leaves Below the Water Line

Remove the extra leaves and foliage that grow along the stems, especially those that will be submerged in water. The foliage can grow bacteria, which will shorten the shelf life of your arrangement.

8. Avoid Heat and Sun

Now it's time to pick a spot where you can enjoy the lovely bouquet. Place the arrangement where you'll see it often but keep it away from heat or direct sunlight. Both will cause blooms to wilt in no time.

9. Change Water Regularly

To help the arrangement last longer, change out the water in the vase every other day. Brace the flowers gently with one hand and tip the vase over the sink to drain the water. Refill with room temperature water.

For even more flower TLC, hold the bouquet in one hand and wash the vase with soap and water to clean away bacteria. Refill the container with room temperature water and add additional flower food. Cut an additional 1/2 inch off of the ends before placing the stems back in the water.

10. Refrigerate Overnight

Have you ever noticed that florists keep flowers refrigerated? Do that for your flowers every night and they will definitely thank you by staying fresher longer.

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Stephanie Gerber is the founder and editor of the beauty and wellness site, HelloGlow.co. She lives in Nashville with her husband and three children.

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