Caring for Fresh Cut Lilac Bouquets

Always start with a clean container.  Clean in as if you would drink from it.

Give your stems a fresh cut one inch from the bottom at a 45 degree angle.  Cutting at an angle allows for a larger exposed surface area for maximum water uptake.

Another method for maximum uptake is to smash the stem ends with a hammer or mallet after you trim the stem on an angle.  This is the extra step I take when I bring a bouquet into the house.  Some may disagree on this step but in all my years of smashing lilac stems, it has always extended the life of the bouquets for me.

After cutting and smashing, place the stems in fresh water.  Everyone has their own theory on water temperature range.  I feel warmer water expedites bloom.  I just use cool tap water straight from our well.

I have read and heard about water additives to prolong bloom.  Commercial floral preservatives, crushed aspirin, lemon lime soda, a bit of bleach, lemon juice and sugar are the standard concoctions.  Here’s a recipe to try.

Lilac Hydrator

Per quart of water add:
2 Tablespoons of Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Sugar
¼ tsp Bleach

Personally I have had the most success by:

Dumping the water and adding fresh water daily.
If time permits transfer to a clean vase.
Trimming the ends every couple of days.
Keeping them away from direct sunlight.
Keeping them in a cool room.  Lilacs will blow out quickly in a warm room.
Putting the bouquet in the fridge if I have enough room or outside if its cooler there than in the house.

Lilacs naturally take up a lot of water.  If yours happen to accidentally drink the vase dry you can try to revive them by cutting a good inch off the stems, re smashing and putting them into a clean vase with fresh water. They may come back and give you a few more days.