Blooms and Hydration: A Guide to Different Flowers, Their Water Needs, and Vase Freshness

Flowers, with their myriad colors and captivating fragrances, add a touch of beauty and serenity to any space. Whether you're an experienced gardener or a budding enthusiast, understanding the water needs of different flowers and how to keep them fresh in a vase is essential to help them thrive indoors and outdoors.

Roses: The Classic Beauties


Roses in a 10" Amaranth Vase in Cool Grey

Roses, often called the "queen of flowers," are prized for their elegance and fragrance. Humanity has loved and cultivated this shrub for over 5,000 years now. They were mentioned in Confucius’s writings, who grew them in the Imperial Gardens.

Roses are the most popular choice for symbolic gifting: red roses convey romantic love, white roses to pure and innocent love, and yellow roses stand for friendship.

To keep them fresh in a vase, trim the stems at an angle and change the water every two days. Remove any submerged leaves to prevent bacterial growth.

Sunflowers: Standing Tall and Strong

Sunflowers in a 7.5" Amaranth Vase in Black

Sunflowers are known for their vibrant yellow petals and towering stalks. They represent loyalty and longevity, and they make the perfect gift for when you want to brighten someone’s day.

Sunflowers bloom all summer and come in several colors and varieties. While yellow is the most popular, sunflowers can also be red, orange, maroon, or brown. They can have either branching stems or a single stem and can either produce a lot of pollen or no pollen at all.

These bright and cheery blooms are best enjoyed fresh. Change the water daily, recut the stems at an angle, and keep the vase in a cool location away from direct sunlight.

Orchids: Exotic Elegance

Photo by Ömürden Cengiz on Unsplash

Orchids are exotic and captivating, making them a popular choice for vases. Unfortunately, they tend to be more delicate than most flowers. Not only do you need to be gentle in handling orchids, but you also need to put in a lot of time and attention for their care, even if they’re already cut and in a vase.

Submerge the entire stem in water for a few seconds before placing it in a vase with ¼ cup of fresh water. Mist the orchid's aerial roots to maintain humidity. If the leaves, stems, or petals are losing their vibrancy or are turning gray or yellow, then you need to add a bit more water to the vase. Only do so gradually to avoid overwatering these fragile blooms.

Tulips: Early Spring Delights

Tulips in a 10" Amaranth Vase in White

Tulips bring a burst of color to early spring decor. They are said to be a favorite flower of the Ottomans, who grew them all over their empire to serve as symbols of wealth, stability, and power. These days, tulips have become associated with the Netherlands, which happens to be the world’s leading producer of these flowers.

Tulips can symbolize genuine love, like that of a mother and child. And because they tend to bloom in the early spring, they can also stand for rebirth. They make popular gifts for significant life changes, like a baby’s birth, a new job, or a new house.

To extend their vase life, trim the stems, and place them in cold water with a penny or a flower preservative. Keep them away from direct sunlight and drafts.

Hydrangeas: Color-Changing Wonders

Photo by Maarten Deckers on Unsplash

Having large balls of petals in different colors, hydrangeas can instantly lift your spirits. Different varieties bloom in different seasons from spring to fall. The red, pink, purple, white, green, and blue types usually appear in spring and early summer, while green, red, and brown ones bloom in the late summer to early fall.

Hydrangeas also come in different petal shapes and forms. The most common one is the dome shape, but there are also cone-shaped varieties and varieties with tiny flowers in the middle.

To keep hydrangeas fresh, trim the stems at an angle and immerse the cut ends in boiling water for 30 seconds before arranging them in a vase. Change the water every few days, and they'll stay vibrant for longer.

Lavender: Aromatic and Hardy

Photo by Alexander Grey on Unsplash

Lavender is a popular choice of flower both for its looks and fragrance. Its spikes of purple, pink, or white can look great as a solo stem in a bud vase, as a filler for a wild and loose arrangement, or as a bunch in a mono-floral bouquet.

To enjoy the scent of lavender indoors, fill the vase with 4 inches of cold water. Cut the stems diagonally before arranging them in the water-filled vase. Keep the flowers away from direct sunlight, wind, and excessive heat. Change the water every 24 hours.

What’s great about lavender, is that you can continue to enjoy it for longer than a week through the process of drying. Simply hang the flowers in bundles upside down in a dark, dry area. Leave enough space for each flower to breathe and to prevent molds. The dried lavender will retain its fragrance and charm for an extended period.

Marigolds: Bright and Cheerful

Image by jcomp on Freepik

Marigolds are ideal for adding cheerful color to your home. It is said that the name “Marigold” came about because Early Christians would offer these flowers to the Virgin Mary’s altar in lieu of gold (“Mary’s gold”). And because they look like coins, Victorians related them to a desire for riches.

Aside from coins, marigolds were also associated with the sun. Many cultures saw these flowers as a symbol of power, strength, and light that lives inside a person.

To keep marigolds fresh in your vase, trim the stems, remove any leaves that would be submerged in water, and change the water every few days to keep them fresh.

Irises: Elegance in Bloom

Photo by Larisa Birta on Unsplash

Irises, known for their stunning, delicate blooms, thrive in consistently moist soil. They tend to bloom from spring to early summer, depending on the variety. There are some varieties that can bloom a second, third, and even fourth time in summer or fall.

If you’re growing irises in your cutting garden, you need to know when is the best time to cut them for your flower arrangement. The Dutch iris variety, for example, is best cut when the buds are showing halfway out of their green covering and the flower bud tip is starting to unfold.

To extend the vase life of your irises, keep the water level consistent and re-cut the stems every few days.

Daisies: Simple and Charming

Image by Freepik

Daisies, with their simplicity and charm, are perfect for casual arrangements. Their symbolisms depend on their color:

  • White daisies stand for purity and innocence.
  • Yellow daisies represent friendship, joy, cheerfulness, and well wishes, just like sunflowers.
  • Pink daisies symbolize platonic love, romance, gentleness, and femininity.
  • Orange daisies are associated with joy, excitement, healing, happiness, playfulness, and warmth.
  • Red daisies stand for love, passion, and romance, similar to red roses.
  • Purple daisies as a gift could mean that you’re thinking of the recipient, but they also represent spontaneity, peace, unity, and fun.
  • Blue daisies symbolize trust, honesty, and loyalty.

To keep daisies fresh, change the water every two to three days and trim the stems slightly at an angle.

Take Good Care of Your Flowers

Understanding the water needs of different flowers is essential for cultivating a thriving garden, but knowing how to maintain their freshness in a vase allows you to enjoy their beauty indoors. By following these simple tips tailored to each type of flower, you can create stunning and long-lasting floral arrangements to brighten up your home. Happy vase arranging!

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