How To Fix Dying Flowers

dying flowers

It Started With Sale Flowers

But We stopped Dying Flowers From Ruining The Story

Dying flowers will ruin your bargain flowers. But it doesn’t have to. 

Shopping in Costco this week there was a sale on flowers. Being naturally suspicious of too good a deal I wondered how fresh they were. 

I looked them over carefully, and they looked good so I took a chance. 

These were a deluxe bouquet that is regularly $15.99 that was on sale for $12.99. 

And they started out looking good:

But Around Day 4 Dying Flowers Started To appear

That's Not Normal

It appears that only a couple flowers were fading. 

Which made me think maybe these flowers had been combined with older flowers. 

I immediately removed dying flowers. Why? It’s not because they are ugly. Dying flowers can actually make the rest die quicker too. 

The villain here is ethylene gas. This gas is naturally produced as flowers, fruit or vegetables wither and die. That gas will speed long the breakdown of other flowers, fruit or vegetables in the area. 

People that study these things calculate that almost 30% of flowers perish prematurely due to the harmful effects of exposure to ethylene gasses. 

What is Ethylene Gas?

Ethylene is an odourless, colourless gaseous plant hormone that exists in nature but is also created by man-made sources. It’s actually quite useful under controlled conditions. Ethylene gas is what helps ripen food if it is picked unripened (for easier transportation) and allows grocery stores to keep a longer shelf life on fruits and vegetables.

But when ethylene gas is produced by dying flowers it is going to kill the flowers nearby faster. 

If one flower starts to die, it will produce ethylene gas, and that gas will accelerate flowers dying faster. 

Ever heard the phase “one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch (baby)”? That’s what happens to flowers too. Because bouquets of flowers are in tight proximity, one flower dying in the middle can lead to a hole bouquet of dying flowers.

Flower Boosters Time Lapse

When we are running our time lapse videos we try to let the flowers do their thing so people an see results in action.

We only take the flowers out to give them fresh water and Flower Boosters cut flower food. 

But I went ahead and stopped this on day 11. Why? Something odd was happening here.

Most flowers will last about the same mount of days. Yes, some will start to fade a few days before the rest (and again, the ethylene gas has something to do with that), But here you can see that the leaves and some of the flowers stayed VERY fresh, while a couple stems started fading extremely fast. 

Flower Boosters works by feeding the flowers and stimulating them to open and take in fresh water. That lets flowers live longer, have bigger blooms and generally look fresher longer. 

But here only part of the flowers were responding, despite the fact the flower varieties that were failing here, can be seen in some of our other time lapse videos going for 20 days (or more). So something was off.

I could have just tossed the time lapse because it did not show the product doing what we know it can. But I thought there was a bigger lesson here and wanted to use this as an example of how things can go wrong, and more importantly, what you can do to course correct a bouquet of flowers that seems to be failing.

The Problem With Fresh Flowers


One of the problems with the fresh flower system we currently have is flowers come from very long distances. Almost all the flowers we purchase commercially come from outside the United States and travel very long distances to get to your local market. 

Combine that with retailers and wholesalers looking to maximize their margins, you might be getting flowers that were not cut on the same day being combined with flowers that didn’t sell last week. 

One of my most valuable career lessons came shortly after I started my career while working with an art director in Seattle. On her door was this message:

  •  Quick Turnaround 
  • Low Price
  • High Quality


It’s something I’ve never forgotten because it has proved to be true in many, many different industries. Flowers are no exception. 

Our thirst  for low prices and quick delivery (from foreign markets) has lead to low quality flowers proliferating the market. 

Now that’s not to say all flowers you get are bad. This quick turnaround of inexpensive flowers from foreign markets could work best if we had a steady demand curve.

But the minute flowers don’t sell every day, those flowers become a loss and flower sellers are going to look for a way to fix their profits. That could lead to taking dying flowers out of one bouquet and mixing them in with “newer” flowers to create a new bouquet that can (hopefully) recoup some of their inventory investment. 

Ironically, that is also what I’m going to suggest YOU do to try to extend the life of the flowers you have already purchased and keep your flower investment from dying too soon.

Day 11-15

Victory From The Jaws Of defeat

Here are the same time lapse flowers being cared for without the dying flowers.

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dying flowers

You can see the remaining flowers look strong. No wilting on the leaves, straight stems, vibrant color on the remaining flowers.

By removing the dying flowers, the rest of the vase can thrive, taking in nutrients and water and providing a good return on your flower investment.

Instead of throwing out the flowers on day 11 we basically doubled their life span. Making a $12.99 bouquet last over 20 days! 

I could also have taken these flowers and mixed them in with some more inexpensive flowers from the grocery store and create a new, more robust, bouquet from these multiple sources. But for the purposes of this example I just wanted to show how to fix dying flowers fast.

Day 16+

Better Flowers Longer

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keep cut flowers alive longer

On day 21 the flower water was having trouble with bacteria on the stems so the stems were washed thoroughly under tap water to clean them and placed back in plain water to ensure the bacteria issue was under control.

How could I tell there was a bacteria problem? There was an odor coming from cloudy water. And when I placed them back in fresh water, it immediately got cloudy again. That told me there was bacteria on stems themselves and I needed to do a little flower hygiene. 

It’s not a big deal. Just run tap water over the bottom of the stems and gently run the stems just like when you are washing your hands. You are just trying to remove bacteria that has developed as the flowers start to fade. 

A little selective weeding out of dying flowers, and some basic flower hygiene, can pay flower dividends to day 24 (or beyond)!

make cut flowers last longer

Use A Fresh Flower Food That Stems Will Crave

how to keep flowers fresh in a vase

Perk up your flowers so they stay bright and hydrated longer. Now there is flower food for cut flowers with the  extra boost of caffeine.

Flower Food For Cut Flowers With Caffeine

Why caffeine? The same way you crave your first cup of coffee each day, caffeine helps perk up your cut flowers and make them thirsty for a big gulp of water that will help keep them fresh and hydrated longer. 


fresher flowers

It makes you wonder why no one thought of this before!

And even better, Flower Boosters also has optional scents that let you take your fresh flower experience to a whole new level. Featuring scent boosters that turn ordinary vase water into a whole room freshener with natural and organic real flower fragrances!

Flower Boosters is the ultimate solution for how to make fresh cut flowers last longer and smell better than ever before. It is flower food for cut flowers that flowers will crave.

Learn more at

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