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Enjoy your Fresh Cut Lilacs Longer

A sure sign that summer is one its way in Upstate New York is the smell of lilacs wafting in the breeze. The lilac festival is this weekend in Rochester at Highland Park!  This is an incredibly busy time of the year for us, between the planting of field crops and calves being born, it is almost impossible to sneak off the farm. I would love to go and see all the different varieties of lilacs at Highland park (over 500 different varieties!) but not this year.

Fresh Cut Lilacs: How to enjoy your blooms indoors for as long as possible- Home in the Finger Lakes
Fresh Cut Lilacs: How to enjoy your blooms indoors for as long as possible

Luckily we do have 3 lilac bushes in our yard so I do get the enjoy the lilacs for the very brief time they bloom. I almost always cut lilacs and arrange a few containers to scatter around the house.  But these prettily scented flowers don’t last long; the average lilac bush only blooms a few weeks each year. And once cut, the typical blooms only last around five days.

Fresh Cut Lilacs: How to enjoy your blooms indoors for as long as possible
White Lilacs arranged in teacup

Keep your Fresh Cut Lilacs Longer

  • Choose lilac stems in the morning when they are filled with moisture from the morning dew. Warm days dehydrate flowers. Flowers cut at the end of the day will fade quickly.
  • Look for stems with firm leaves and strong colors. To maximize vase life, choose stems before they are in full bloom; with at least one-third of the flowers still in bud.
  • Use a sharp knife or pruning shears, and cut each lilac stem approximately 1 inch from the bottom of the main stem at a 45-degree angle. Cutting at an angle will help ensure a larger area is exposed to water for maximum water uptake.
  • Smash the bottoms of the lilac stems so they can draw water up through the woody stem to the blossoms. Use the back of your garden clippers like I did in the video or use a small hammer,  and give the stem a whack so that the stem splits.
  • Remove any leaves, this will reduce the loss of water due to transpiration.
  • Immediately place the lilac stems into a container of warm water with Floral Preservative or crushed aspirin. The salicylic acid in the aspirin will help keep the water clean and free of flower-damaging bacteria.

More useful reading:
Rochester NY, Lilac Festival
Cut Flowers Lifehacker
How to Keep Cut Lilacs Fresh



Enjoy your Fresh Cut Lilacs Longer with these easy tips to help keep your cut lilacs alive, and looking great in a vase longer.
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Jennifer Morrisey

Hi! I’m Jennifer – a work at home, farmer's wife, mom to 3, living life in Upstate New York! I love sharing tasty recipes, easy do it yourself projects, and little stories of life on a farm in the Finger Lakes.

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