Nothing ruins the joy of a fresh bouquet than having it wilt in less than a week. After experiencing this problem one too many times, Reader’s Digest asked veteran florist Nic Faitos, senior partner at Starbright Floral Design in New York, to list his favorite long-lasting blooms. Here’s what he had to say (in addition to his number-one tip for floral longevity, which is to keep vase water clean: “If you’re not willing to drink the water that’s in there, what makes you think your flowers do?”).
MORE: Pro Tricks to Make Flowers Last Longer
These Cut Flowers Last the Longest
Expect the blossoms in this first group to hold up for seven days or more, assuming they are relatively fresh at the time of purchase and are handled and displayed with at least a moderate level of care. In general, these flowers have stronger petals and grow in less forgiving climates than their more delicate counterparts.
Lilies, available in various sizes and colors, can be bought fresh year round, and in many cases last longer than seven days. Look for a bouquet with tight buds. “Each stem usually produces between three and five blossoms,” says Faitos. “The last bud might not bloom for ten days after the first.” Snip the flowers that are past their prime. “It might not look as rich or lush, but you’ll have longer blooms,” he says.
Colorful, hardy, and heavily fragrant, stock can be bought fresh year round. Because the flowers grow in tight clusters, avoid stems with decaying flowers.
This prickly dandelion shaped bloom can add texture and color to any arrangement. What’s more, its unique hardiness allows it to blend in even when it’s past its prime. Or, as Faitos says: “Even when its dead you can’t tell it’s dead.”
Tropical blossoms: birds of paradise, cymbidium orchids, ginger, and anthurium
Because these flowers grow in hot and harsh climates, they’re able to tolerate more extreme conditions. While a toastier room might wilt a less hardy flower, these will stay strong and crisp. To ensure freshness at purchase, inspect the flower’s petals. “On all of the tropical flowers, the edges of the petals will turn black,” says Faitos. “So even if the petal has a black spec or dot on it, you’ll want to avoid that one.”
Other long-lasting blooms include:
- Miniature cala lilies
- Garden roses
These Flowers Require Extra Care
Although most of the following flowers are unlikely to last longer than five days, Faitos shared tips for buying them as fresh as possible and keeping them well cared for.
Try this simple test to know the daisies you’re choosing haven’t been sitting in water all week: Hold the stem upright and check to see if the petals are perfectly parallel to the ground. If the petals slope down, the flower isn’t totally fresh. Once you choose your bouquet, gerbera daisies prefer a cooler temperature. “If you leave them in the heat or turn the air conditioning off when you go to work for the day, they’ll go faster,” says Faitos.
With the word “hydra” in its name, expect your hydrangea to drink a ton. Faitos stresses the importance of changing and refilling the flower’s water supply once a day. If you notice the plant isn’t drinking, recut its stem. To keep a hydrangea’s blossoms looking bright and crisp, use a spray bottle to mist its petals with—you guessed it—even more water.
These stunning blossoms are hit or miss. “There’s no consistency for how long they will last,” says Faitos. “Sometimes it’s three days and sometimes it’s over a week. In the world of flowers that predictably last longest, they’re not one of them.”
This highly fragrant flower would like you to take three steps back, please. “The one thing that will kill a gardenia is putting your nose up against it and smelling it,” says Faitos. “The air you breathe out on the flower is a surefire way to kill it. The white petals will turn brown.” Instead, enjoy this flower from afar. Faitos says as long you and the gardenia are in the same room, you’ll be able to smell it. No need to crowd it.
This popular bridal bouquet flower is sensitive to temperature. Keep it in a cool, chilly environment for as long as possible. “The petal has the consistency of tracing paper,” says Faitos. “It’s very delicate and dainty.”
Expect these cold-weather flowers to shape shift. “Tulips continue to grow in water,” says Faitos. “You can put them in a vase and they’ll be perfectly arranged and upright, and then it’s almost as if someone moved them around—they’ll literally tangle themselves.” Tulips are also sensitive to temperature. Put them in a warm room and they’ll open—which doesn’t mean they’re wilting; move them in front of the air conditioner and they’ll close back up.