Use these varieties if you want to enjoy your creation for a week or more.

By Jenn Sinrich
March 10, 2020
Getty / Mint Images

When it comes to buying cut flowers for arranging, most people are quick to choose the prettiest blooms at the market. And while the appearance of a flower certainly matters, another important factor is longevity. After all, there are millions of types of flowers to style, but some simply last longer than others in a vase. The good news is that there are steps you can take to extend the lifespan of any flower: It's imperative that you give them another slice (before arranging them, and then again and again, each time you refresh the water supply) to keep them looking their best. "When cutting your flowers, you should always use a clean, sharp knife and make a long cut on a slant, as this exposes the inside of the stem, and it will be able to hydrate itself easier than being cut with clippers of scissors," explains Oleta Collins, owner of Flourishing Art Design Studio. "Clippers or scissors bruise the actual bark of the stem, and where it is damaged, it will not hydrate, which means you are lessening the life of the flower."

While this tactic can help your creation stay pretty for longer, one of the very best strategies involves choosing the type of flower known to last the longest. Here, floral experts share the varieties that allow you to enjoy your masterpiece for longer than a week.

Related: Our Most Magnificent Flower Arranging Secrets

Lilies

When cared for properly, lilies have an average lifespan of up to two weeks if buds continue to open, explains Eddie Zaratsian, owner of Eddie Zaratsian Lifestyle and Design. To extend this further, consider adding one or two drops of both Clorox (or any bleach) and dishwashing soap to the water. "Not only does this disinfect it, but it helps keep it from turning yellowish with time," he says. "This can be achieved with any dropper you may have on hand."

Peonies

"These flowers, which come in varying colors but are usually spotted as pink or white bunches, will last from five to seven days once cut," says Zarastian. The key is to purchase them in closed form. They won't look as showy or smell as fragrant as the beginning, but over the course of the week—assuming they're properly hydrated and healthy—they'll open up, revealing lush petals and a sunny center. He suggests changing the water out every two days to keep peonies fresh.

Mums

There are plenty of mum varieties out there, and all can make it to the two week mark. "The mum plant is similar to celery in the way that it has a string inside the stem, so it prefers to be broken rather than cut with a knife," says Collins. "In breaking the string, it allows the flower to be able to drink sufficiently." When breaking the mum, she suggests checking to ensure the inside of the mums' stem is white. "If it is not white, continue breaking the flower stem until you see white in the center. This is the freshest part of the stem," she adds.

Roses

Always a classic, a rose has an average lifespan of about seven days once it has been cut. To ensure your roses get there, Zaratsian suggests trimming them at a 45-degree angle. "This way, the florals will have more water intake as opposed to cutting them straight across, which will limit the drinking capabilities," he says. "If a professional floral knife isn't available, clippers will do just fine, but check that your clippers are absolutely clean and without rust."

Cymbidium Orchids

These pink or lightly colored petals are accompanied by long stems and large leaves, and they're the longest-lasting variety on this list. Zaratsian says they live between one to three months. "Before you place your arrangement in water, you'll want to make sure that you're trimming any excess foliage that may be submerged," he says. "Dunking the leaves or blooms will cause them to over-hydrate, which will ultimately kill your flowers."

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