how to tell if cut flowers are fresh or not

how to tell if cut flowers are fresh or not

Quick Tips How To Choose Better Cut Flowers

Don't be Fooled Into buying old flowers

Ahh, flowers—the perfect way to show someone you care, or just to brighten up your living room. But it can be incredibly frustrating to bring them home, only to have them die away too quickly. You want your blooms to be fresh and last as long as possible but if you bought flowers that were already aging, you won’t be able to revive them.

Unfortunately, some retailers do some sneaky things to fool you on the freshness of their flowers. We’ll break them down for you so you can pick the best bouquet possible.

how to choose better cut flowers

Start By Picking A Long Lasting Variety

First things first – you’ll need to know what kind of flower you’re looking for. Do you want a classic bouquet of roses, or something exotic like lilies? But the key how to choose better cut flowers really starts with knowing how long most flowers last. 

Looking for the longest lasting flowers to get the absolute most bang for your buck? We covered this on a prior blog post here.  My preference is chrysanthemums because they come in a variety of colors and sizes, are budget friendly and last longer than any other variety. But any flower can live longer with the best care so pick the variety that works best for you.

But once you’ve decided on the type of flower, head to the store and check out the selection. Look for signs of freshness, such as healthy buds that are free of wilting or browning. Also, make sure to check the stems for any signs of damage – if they’re broken or bruised, it’s best to avoid them.

Obvious Signs Flowers May Already Be Fading In the Store

When shopping for cut flowers, always make sure to pick the freshest available. Look for blooms that are just beginning to open and have firm, tight petals. Avoid any flowers with wilted, drooping petals or browning edges. It’s always better to buy flowers at the beginning of the day, since they will be the freshest. If you can’t make it to the florist or a retail shop in the morning, try to get there before closing time.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

When it comes to selecting the freshest flowers, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Most employees will be more than happy to answer any questions you have and provide tips on how to make sure you get the best quality blooms. They may also be able to give you advice on what type of flowers will last the longest in your particular vase or flower arrangement. I asked my local Costco what days they get deliveries so I can plan my shopping days around that schedule.

Easiest Way How To Tell If Cut Flowers Are Fresh Or Not: Beware of Grocery Stores

I have nothing against grocery store flowers. I’ve bought them too. But they don’t tend to last as long as Costco or flower shop flowers. Why? Grocery store flowers are often older and not as fresh as those from a florist. Why? They don’t sell as many and are not getting regular shipments like other, more high volume, vendors will.  Generally, grocery store flowers have been sitting in a refrigerated case for a while, so they’ve lost some of their freshness. Additionally, many grocery stores put their flowers near the produce section which can be disastrous to the life of your cut flowers.

It Is Not Hard Learning How To Choose Better Cut Flowers: You Just Have To Know What To Look For

To make the corporations investment in flowers go farther most stores are not just going to toss old flowers. To maximize their bottom line there are a couple tricks retailers employ to boost their flower profits they will often do these kinds of things:

  1. tossing one or two wilting stems but combining the rest of the older flowers with some newer ones. Why does this matter? As flowers age, they emit a gas that can spread to other flowers and make them age faster. Check out my blog post here for more detail on this. The bottom line is you will take home flowers that age at significantly different rates and that will shrink how many viable flowers you are actually buying. 
  2. look for stems without heads. This means the retailer has had to trim the flowers. Now, most flowers travel great distances to get to your local shop, so seeing a trim here or there is not unusual and does not in itself mean there is a problem. But if you see several stems (or branches off the stem) with abrupt cuts that means they have had to do some maintenance to make the flowers look okay to sell. Pass on that bouquet.
  3. When flowers are packed in super tight it can be hard to see what condition the center flowers are really in. This can be a hard one. I’ve spent time inspecting flowers only to come home and take them apart only to find a lot of trimmed flowers in the  center. There is not much you can do here. Yes, you can take the flowers back, but personally I just don’t buy there again. I don’t want to have to second guess every flower like that. 
  4. Look for stems that appear discolored or look to be a significantly different color. This can indicate an aging stem. Stems should be green, and look vibrant and healthy. If they are not firm, pass on that bouquet. A healthy stem is essential to taking in water and nutrients. Without a healthy stem you don’t stand a chance of making those flowers last.

how to tell if cut flowers are fresh or not

Once you’ve found the perfect bouquet, you’ll need to make sure it’s properly prepped for maximum vase life. Start by trimming the stems. Use a sharp pair of scissors or garden shears and make sure to cut at an angle. Cutting at an angle gives the stem more contact with water and will help the stems absorb more water, which will in turn keep your flowers hydrated and fresh longer. Also, don’t forget to remove any leaves that will be submerged in the water (this is important, so you don’t transfer any bacteria to the water).

Now that your flower stems are prepped, it’s time to give them a good drink. Fill the vase with water and add a cut flower food. These special additives help keep the water fresh and inhibit the growth of bacteria while they nourish the flower. We created Flower Boosters to be different from most flower foods out there. Most others focus on keeping the flowers fresh until they sell them, we focused on making them live longer and bloom bigger once you get them home. No matter which brands you choose, make sure to follow the directions on the package for best results.

 how to tell if cut flowers are fresh or not

Finally, it’s time to arrange your flowers in the vase. Start by placing the tallest stems in the back and work your way forward, adding the shorter stems as you go. In the example above you would start with the tallest flowers and then work your way around it with slightly shorter stems to it frames a focal point. This will create a beautiful, balanced arrangement. If you want to know more about the basics of flower design for beginners you can check out my blog post on the subject here

Once you’re done, you can add a ribbon to the vase for a special touch or even buy enhancements at your local hobby store that can be added to the vase and used over and over again. Buying enhancements at your local hobby store is much more cost effective than buying a premade bouquet and allows you to reuse the decorations and avoid waste.

Where You Place Flowers In Your Home Matters

Additionally, when deciding where you can best enjoy your flowers, try to keep your flowers away from direct sunlight and any other sources of heat. Cut flowers do best in areas that are cool, away from direct sunlight, and free from drafts (warm or cool).

With these tips in mind, you have learned how to choose better cut flowers  and you’ll be able to pick the freshest cut flowers for maximum vase life. Now, sit back and enjoy your beautiful bouquet!

fresher flowers

Make cut flowers last longer

Ordinary Plant Food Or Internet Recipes Won't Do it

Use Flower Boosters for the win.

Enhanced with caffeine, Flower Boosters gives your cut flowers an extra burst of energy and makes them live longer — and stronger – – than ever before.

Better than water alone, better than the free packets or internet folk recipes. Flower Boosters makes your cut flowers live their very best life!


How To Make Cut Flowers Last Longer
How To Make Cut Flowers Last Longer
How To Make Cut Flowers Last Longer
How To Make Cut Flowers Last Longer
How To Make Cut Flowers Last Longer

Make Your Cut Flowers Live Longer & Stronger

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