How Long Can a Bouquet Last Without Water?

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Want to remember your perfect day by saving your wedding bouquet? Well then how long can you expect them to last? The short answer is not very long. In this article, we'll take a look at how long exactly the flowers can last, and what you can do to extend their life.

How Long Can a Bouquet Last Without Water?

The short answer: not long. However, exactly how long a bouquet will last is very dependent on the type of flower, and the temperature. Hot weather will make flowers die more quickly, and colder temperatures sustain the life of the bouquet longer. And some flowers naturally last longer than others. Here's a quick list of the shelf life of more common flowers.

  • 1-2 days: the gardenia

  • 3-5 days: tulip, iris, daffodil, lily of the valley, cornflower, peony

  • 5 days to 1 week: roses, anemone, delphinium, calla, gerbera, snapdragon, freesia, zinnia

  • 1-2 weeks: aster,  gladiolus, lilies, tuberose, heather, wax flower, chrysanthemum

So if you want your bouquet to last, keep in mind this list of flowers when picking out your floral arrangements.

Sometimes it's not just the flower you choose, it's the maturity of the flower that matters the lifespan of your bouquet. Some flowers need to be cut while still in the bud stage. This includes flowers like roses, irises, daffodils and gladiolas. The flowers will then open while in the bouquet to make for a perfect arrangement. But this isn't the case for all flowers. Many need to be completely bloomed before they're cut.

If the length of the bouquet is overly important to you, consult a good florist. They may be able to help you pick the perfect flowers.

Now that you have a good idea of how long a bouquet will last without water, next we'll show you how you can extend it's life even further.

How to Make a Bouquet Last Longer

No matter what flower combinations you choose, there are ways to make them last a little longer. The most important of course is water. When putting your bouquet in a vase with water, keep these simple rules in mind to keep your flowers fresh as long as possible.

Refill & Change the Water Frequently

How long can a bouquet last without water? Not long at all, and they'll drink up any water you give them very quickly. Large bouquets can drink up a lot of water, especially in the first few days you have them at home. Make sure the flowers have enough water covering their stems so as not to dry out. In addition, flowers are extremely vulnerable to bacteria. So even if the flowers don't drink all the water, make sure to change out the water in the vase every 2-3 days. This prevents bacteria and the stinky, rotten, smell flowers that can sometimes develop.

Trim the Stems

Trimming the stems can be extremely important in lengthening the life of your flowers. Before putting the bouquet in water, make sure to clip at least half an inch of the stem off the flowers. This removes any dead cells that make it difficult for the flower to absorb water. Trim the stems again when you change the water in the case, which helps to get rid of the possible issue that the flowers are dying in the water with bacteria and will help the flowers drink up the water much more easily, and help them live longer!

Use Sharp Scissors

If your use dull or old scissors to trim your flowers, you're likely to damage the cells at the end of the stem. This will prevent the bouquet from absorbing water properly. So sharp scissors are necessary to ensure a clean cut and unharmed cells.

Keep Your Flowers Out of the Heat & Sun

It seems counterintuitive to keep your flowers out of the sun, but you want to treat your cut flowers completely different than you would treat a house plant. Sunlight speeds up cut flowers to mature and die even faster. Thus, keep it out of the direct sunlight, and in cooler temperatures, like in a cool, shady place to help it last even longer.

Use Flower Food

Adding flower food to the water in your vase can be a great option for making your bouquet last longer. Plant food is especially great for those who may forget to change the water. Generally most plant food also contains a substance that kills bacteria. You can even make your own at home. Combine 2 tsps lemon juice, 1 tsp of sugar and 1 tsp of bleach to your vase before adding warm water. 

However, there are actually a few flowers that do NOT like plant food, like sunflowers, zinnias and glads. So pay attention before adding it to your vase. 

Don't Keep Your Bouquet Next to Your Fruit

This sounds kind of funny, but avoid putting your bouquet next to fruits like bananas and apples. The ripening fruit gives off ethylene, an odorless gas that will cause flowers to die very quickly. It's all because of biology. In the plant world, a plant flowers before it produces fruit. Once a flower becomes pollinated, the plant produces ethylene, which will cause the plant to wilt and produce fruit. Even after a piece of fruit is picked, it gives off ethylene. So when you put the vase with your bouquet next to fruit, the flowers think it's time to die, and you get a very wilted bouquet.

Wash Your Vase

Remember the last arrangement of flowers you had? Well, remnants of it may still be in your vase. So before you put your bouquet in there, make sure to wash it thoroughly. You can also run it through the dishwasher. Dirty vases are filled with bacteria. As soon as you add water again, the vase will be filled with bacteria-ridden water. Your bouquet will be killed by the same bacteria that killed your last arrangement. How long can a bouquet last without water? Not long, but it also won't last long in water teeming with bacteria.