They look beautiful and smell amazing, but cut lilacs tend to droop quickly in a vase. There are some tricks, however, to help you keep your lilacs looking fresher longer.

If you're hosting a party or just want to bring a little bit of life indoors, it's easy to just clip a few sprigs of lilacs off the bush in your yard and plop them in a vase of water. Sometimes it just doesn't feel worth the effort when they end up looking wilted and dead by the end of the day. With the right techniques and care, you can keep your lilacs upright and vibrant for days.

detail of lilac cuttings in clear vase
Photo by Andy Lyons
| Credit: Andy Lyons

The best time to cut lilac blossoms is early in the morning when they're fully hydrated. Cut the stems with sharp, clean pruning shears, then immediately plunge the cut stems into a bucket of water. Cut long stems for the longest vase-life. Indoors, get a vase ready for the flowers. Make sure it's clean by running it through a dishwasher cycle or washing it by hand with a solution of 10 percent bleach and 90 percent water. Residue from soaps and past arrangements may harm the cut flowers.

Add fresh water and a floral preservative, which you can find at florist shops, to the vase. Remove all leaves that would be underwater in the vase, but leave the upper leaves intact for a fuller arrangement. Recut the stems at a 45-degree angle, and arrange the lilacs in the prepared container. Set the vase in indirect light and enjoy. Recut the stems, still keeping a 45-degree angle, and add more water as needed to prevent wilting.

Comments (1)

Better Homes & Gardens Member
July 28, 2019
Lilac stems should be split not cut at an angle...split the stems right up the middle and they will last for 4-5 days in a vase.