Some flowers start to shed petals after just a few days, but these cut blooms will outlast the rest.

By Andrea Beck
August 31, 2020
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It’s happened to all of us: You spend time picking out a beautiful bouquet to bring home, or you snip a few flowers from your garden to display in a vase, but after just a few days, they’ve all started to droop and lose petals. There are a few different tips you can follow to make flowers last longer (I’m guilty of forgetting to change out the water in the vase every day), but some flowers just naturally won’t last more than a few days. If you’re tired of being disappointed by arrangements that wilt after just a few days, the next time you’re picking out flowers, look for these blooms that will survive the longest in a vase.

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cut chrysanthemum varieties in vases
Credit: Carson Downing

1 Chrysanthemums

This popular fall flower is also a great choice for bouquets because the blooms can last up to two weeks. If you have a few flowers outlasting the rest in your arrangement, they might be mums, and you might not even realize it. Chrysanthemums come in a variety of colors and petal shapes, including button mums (which are popular in fall gardens), anemone, quilled, spider, spoon, and pompon.

various colorful orchids
Credit: Adam Albright

2 Orchids

As a houseplant, orchid blooms can last for weeks or even months. They won’t live quite as long as cut flowers, but most varieties can live for at least two weeks. If you really want to enjoy your cut orchids, look for cymbidium or anthurium varieties. These two will last the longest, and can sometimes survive for four weeks or more.

carnation
Credit: Kat Teutsch

3 Carnations

Any bouquet you’ve picked up at the grocery store usually has at least one carnation, and it’s almost always one of the last flowers standing. Carnations can last up to three weeks in a vase as long as you give them the right care (keep them away from direct sunlight and heat, and regularly give them fresh water). They’re one of the most versatile flowers out there, and they’re easily dyed any color of the rainbow.

pink red zinnia flower arrangement blue white china vase
Credit: Elvin Mcdonald

4 Zinnias

If you want to grow flowers in your garden for cutting, be sure to plant zinnias. They’re a favorite with pollinators, including butterflies, and can have purple, red, orange, white, pink, or yellow blooms. When you decide to snip a few stems to bring inside, they’ll last up to 12 days in a vase.

purple alstroemeria flowers in garden
Credit: Edward Gohlich

5 Alstroemerias

Also known as Peruvian lily, you’ll have a hard time finding a bouquet that doesn’t include a few alstroemeria stems. This lily look-a-like grows several flowers on each stem, which helps create a full, lush flower arrangement. Usually, each individual flower will last for about a week, but since each stem has multiple blooms, a cluster of alstroemerias will last for up to two weeks in a vase.

'Star Gazer' Oriental lily
Credit: Jon Jensen

6 Lilies

Similar to alstroemerias, one lily stem (especially Oriental lilies) can have multiple flowers that open at different times. If you’re buying an arrangement with lilies, look for flowers that haven’t quite opened yet. Once you get them in a vase, they’ll slowly open up within a few days, and can last for up to two weeks.

pink Alliums
Credit: Mark Kane

7 Alliums

You may not see alliums as often as some other cut flowers, but they’re a great choice for a bouquet. They have long, stiff stems that won’t flop over in a vase, and since they grow so tall (some varieties can stretch up to 4 feet), they’re easy to cut to any height you want. Most will last up to two weeks in a vase; just be sure to change their water regularly. Also known as ornamental onions, the stems can smell a little like scallions when cut, and if you leave them in the same water for too long, you might start to notice the smell.

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