how to perk up wilting flowers

How to Perk Up Wilting Flowers

Though a bouquet of flowers can make a lovely gift, you may notice your flowers starting to wilt after a few days in their vase. Don’t be so quick to throw them away--there are several steps you can take to help perk up the flowers and make them appear fresh again. You may also want to perk up potted flowers indoors or in your garden so they stay fresh and healthy.

1.Trimming and Maintaining Cut Flowers

Cut one inch off the stems at an angle. Cut flowers may look great in a vase in your kitchen but inevitably, bacteria in the water and on the surface of the flowers will clog up the stems. You will need to re-cut the stems to remove the clogged portions of the stem and prevent the flowers from wilting and dying. Use garden shears, pruners, or a sharp knife to make a clean cut at a 45 degree angle. This will ensure the cuts are clean and smooth.

    • Cut about 1 inch of the stems, making sure that are the flowers are relatively even in length, as this will ensure they all perk up at the same time.
    • Our Expert Agrees: If your flowers are weeping, or the heads are nodding, try putting a needle through the base, right underneath the head of that flower. That will help perk roses back up about 90% of the time. If that doesn't work, hold the stem underwater and cut off the very bottom of the stem to try to help the flower absorb water better.

2.Place the cut stems in fresh, lukewarm water. 

Do this as soon as the stems have been cut to prevent air bubbles from becoming trapped in the stems. The air bubbles can block the flow of water up the stems and lead to wilted, dying flowers.

how to perk up wilting flowers

  • Though some florists advocate for the use of cold water or warm water, lukewarm water will help to revive the flowers just as well. Warm water can bring moisture to the flowers faster, but may shock the flowers and lead to wilting.
  • The exceptions to this rule are bulbs like tulips and hyacinths. These flowers prefer cold water.

3.Remove any leaves below the water line

Leaves that sit in the water or fall into the water can foul up the water as they rot and deteriorate. Only remove leaves that sit below the water line in the vase of water as higher leaves can help to pump water to the stems.

  • You should also remove any other debris that is sitting in the water, such as fallen petals or bugs. This debris can introduce bacteria into the water that can cause the flowers to wilt.

4.Keep the flowers in a cool, dark spot

The cooler and darker the environment around your flowers, the longer they will live. Avoid placing them in direct sunlight. Look for a spot in your home that is cool in temperature and does not get a lot of light.


  • The exception to this rule is sunflowers, which often need more light than other cut flowers.
  • You should also keep the flowers away from ripening fruit, such as bananas. Ripening fruit give off a gas called ethylene, which can significantly shorten the lifespan of your flowers.

5.Replace the flower water every three days

Keep your flowers looking fresh by replacing the flower water with fresh water every three days. The rule is, if you wouldn’t drink the vase water yourself, it probably isn’t clean enough for your flowers.


  • If there seems to be a lot of gunk and debris in the flower vase, you may want to quickly rinse out the flower vase before replacing the water and putting the flowers back in the vase. A clean vase will prevent bacteria from infecting your flowers.
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