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Longest Lasting Inexpensive Cut Flowers

The longest lasting inexpensive cut flowers that you can buy are easy to find, but tend to be a florist's secret.

As a former florist I know that flowers can make a home look gorgeous and they are a fabulous gift for almost any occasion but there is nothing sadder than spending your hard earned cash on a bouquet of flowers only to have them look like a wilty mess after a few days.

Why do some flowers seem to last so much longer than others and is there a secret potion that you can put in the vase to make them stay fresh? You want to know what the longest lasting inexpensive cut flowers are but you're not sure if you ask where you are buying from if they are telling you the truth.

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Clean Your Vase!

One of the biggest problems with people buying flowers that don't seem to last has got absolutely nothing to do with the flowers but is a problem with the vase that they are put into. If you want your longest lasting inexpensive cut flowers to last you have to know how to treat them.

A good florist will always wash out the containers that they sell their flower in with a bit of bleach, this is to stop the growth of bacteria. Bacteria can live on for months in a dry vase so it is crucial that you clean your vases.

Wash with dish soap and hot water and a few drops of bleach If you are making an arrangement using floral foam bricks make sure the container is either cleaned with bleach or line it with plastic.

Don't put any flower arrangement near a source of heat as it will dry out the flowers. They really should not be in the heat of the sun all day either, it will considerably shorten their life span.

Are They Fresh?

The longest lasting inexpensive cut flowers in your home are the ones that are the freshest from the flower shop or grocer. Unfortunately if you ask straight out how old the flowers are when you are buying them you are not likely to get a totally honest answer. They may reply that it was from the shipment that just came in or a shipment that just was unpacked. This might be true or it might not, florists are so tired of people asking them that question that generally they just try to side step it. 

You can tell yourself if the flowers are reasonably fresh by how perky they are. If there are any wilted flowers or any brown leaves then it is past its prime. The leaves on the flowers should be as crisp as a fresh lettuce. Look in the middle of the flower and see if it looks bright or faded. With some flowers you can very gently pinch them to see how firm they are, if they are very soft that means they are coming to the end of their lives. This is especially true with roses. 

What are my favorite longest lasting inexpensive cut flowers as a former florist?

Chrysanthemum without a doubt are the longest lasting inexpensive cut flowers that I have ever used.  Often called their shortened name Mums, many people just don't understand how many different varieties there are to this flower and only think of the daisy type or decorative type which many people use in their fall gardens.

They have been breed into so many different shapes, sizes and colors that I have always found there to be one I could use for any occasion.

These flowers can last up to 20 days in a vase and that I think is value for the dollar.

My personal favorite of these is the spider chrysanthemum (shown here in white) because I find the shape to be a little more on the wild side compared to the button shape or daisy shapes.

Carnations are another under-valued flower that I adore. These also can last up to 20 days in a vase.

Like Mums they come in many different colors but generally only two different shaped, smooth edged or frilly edged. Their best quality is the array of colors you can buy them in.

White, yellow, orange, pink, red, purple... it is almost limitless. 

These are not just solid colors as they come in stripped variations as well. Carnation come in two sizes, the larger ones and mini carnations. Large carnations have 1 flower on 1 stalk while the mini carnations have several branches on 1 stalk with a flower on each branch.

So why do so many people turn up their noses at carnations thinking that they are cheap? Probably the color (faded reds) or they have only ever received ones that are way past their prime.

If you chose carnations to be your longest lasting inexpensive cut flowers for goodness sake buy ones that only look gorgeous. There are so many out there that you have a world of choice.

Alstroemeria  are a lovely delicate looking flower that can easily live up to 14 days in water. I can not say enough about these flowers and I had them in my wedding bouquet. (Ok, I will say one more thing, of all the longest lasting inexpensive cut flowers these are probably my favorite by far). 

They look very delicate so they make very pretty arrangements. Their colors range from white, pink, purples and yellows and they all have a stripping effect that can be very subtle or very distinct depending on the color.

Most people don't realize how long lived alstroemeria are because florist can keep them in their coolers for 10 days and they still look great but when you take them home at this point they will only live for maybe 4 more days

It is vital to buy your Alstroemeria fresh and the only way to tell is to make sure that the leaves are very crisp and firm and that the blooms look very fresh. If there is any wilting at all then you might be looking at a week old flower.

These alstroemeria are 16 days old and you have to look closely to see the tips of the flowers are beginning to shrivel and there is a slight bit of yellow streaking in the leaves. The day after I took this photo all the petals began to fall off!

Roses.......maybe. It depends on the type of rose but they can last 7 to 10 days. Roses from the garden probably last the longest as they are so fresh and you tend to cut the stems and then instantly pop them into water. 

Commercial roses can be tricky. Generally I have found that the larger the head of the rose the faster they die but not always. I now only buy Sweetheart Roses that are very tightly budded. I cut the stems in water (fill a sink full of water and carefully cut them under water)  and quickly put them in to a vase. Some Sweetheart Roses come on very long stems so as they open they tend to look like the more expensive varieties that have the larger heads. (I dealt with roses professionally for many years and I still had problems with them when I bought them for myself.)

Tricks to Keeping Your Flowers Alive

So what are the other tricks to keeping to keeping your flowers alive? (Longest lasting inexpensive cut flowers most important tips!) Don't have your cut flowers out of water for a long time. Try to buy them and get them home as quickly as possible. 

Take more than an inch off the bottom when you are cutting them and cut them on an angle so they don't sit flat on the bottom of the vase and be unable to suck up water. 

There are many old wives tales of what you can add to the water to make the flowers last longer but I just prefer to use the flower preservativethat comes with them, some of the other suggestions can actually kill them.

(Flower preservative is also great for keeping cut garden flowers looking their best for longer and I always use it when cutting flowers from my garden.)

When you look for the freshest flowers that you can you will be able to quickly see the difference between them and ones that are obviously past their prime. Fresh flowers might still have their flowers tightly budded so the flower head won't be very large in the beginning but as they open their bloom they will expand.

Once you discover a great place to buy fresh flowers you might also want to know  how to wrap a bouquet of flowers like professional florists do.

Read How To Wrap A Bouquet Of Flowers.  This is quick and easy to learn and will give any flowers that you give as a gift a polished presentation.

If you are careful when you buy these inexpensive flowers and make sure that they are placed in a properly cleaned vase that you continue to fill with fresh water then you will be able to enjoy them for a considerable amount of time. These longest lasting inexpensive cut flowers can bring style to a room for up to 3 weeks!

A flower arrangement of carnations, chrysanthemums and alstroemeria. 

An arrangement of mini white carnations, mini pink carnations and pink alstroemeria. From my Easter Table 2017.