Freshly cut flowers can bring color and life to any setting. However, keeping flowers alive after they’ve been severed from their plant can be challenging. Those looking to increase the lifespan of their cut flowers may wonder, “How long do flowers last while in soil?”
Flowers can last anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks while in soil. The lifespan depends on the flower species, soil moisture levels, exposure to sunlight, and the nutrients available in the soil. It’s often better to keep cut flowers in water-filled vases than in soil.
This article will explore the factors that impact a cut flower’s longevity and provide some tips gardeners can use to increase the lifespan of a freshly cut bloom.
The Average Lifespan of Popular Flowers
After you cut a flower from a plant, it immediately begins to die. That’s because flowers rely on their stems to receive water and nutrients.
When this stem is severed from the plant, it can no longer take in these much-need vitamins and minerals. However, flowers that are still attached to sturdy stems may be able to last up to two weeks after being cut, especially when placed in water.
Adding essential nutrients to this water (via soluble fertilizer) may help blooms enjoy a lifespan of more than two weeks. However, most popular flowers have an average post-cut lifespan that can be hard to artificially expand.
The chart below lists the average longevity of different flower types:
|Flower Name||Post-Cut Longevity|
|Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae)||One to two weeks|
|Carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus)||Six days to two weeks|
|Chrysanthemum||One to two weeks|
|Daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus)||Three to seven days|
|Gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides)||One to three days|
|Hydrangea||One to two weeks|
|Peony||One to two weeks|
|Rose||Three to twelve days|
The above information refers to how long cut flowers typically last when placed into plain water. To discover how these blooms last when placed in soil, you’ll need to understand what factors affect the lifespan of cut flowers.
Factors That Affect the Longevity of Cut Flowers
There are three primary factors that influence the longevity of cut flowers. These factors are:
- Exposure to sunlight
- Water quality and temperature
- Availability of nutrients
If you’re considering putting cut blooms into the soil, you’ll want to consider these factors and understand how they impact a flower’s lifespan.
Exposure to Sunlight
Though some plants prefer shady environments, few can thrive when placed in total darkness. Cut flowers placed in sunny windowsills tend to live longer than those kept in the dark.
Still, one of the greatest threats to cut flowers is dryness. Because sunlight is warm, it can cause water to heat up and evaporate, making it harder for cut blooms to stay healthy.
Ensuring that your flower stem has plenty of access to water can provide an ideal balance, helping blooms look vibrant for longer.
Water Quality and Temperature
Moisture is crucial when it comes to keeping cut flowers alive. Therefore, the quality of the water you use (and its temperature) can have significant effects on the longevity of cut flowers.
For example, while it is possible to use tap water to keep flower stems moist and healthy, the quality of your local tap water may not be up to par. Some tap water contains worrisome elements like heavy metals, dangerous bacteria, and harmful chemicals.
These contaminants can shorten the lifespan of cut flowers. For that reason, it’s best to use purified drinking water when keeping stems moist. It’s also essential to use room temperature water (approximately 70°F to 85°F or 21°C to 29°C).
Cold water can shock the stem, expediting plant death. Alternatively, hot water can partially cook the stem, resulting in reduced flower longevity. Still, sunlight and moisture aren’t the only factors affecting a cut flower’s life span—nutrients also do.
Availability of Nutrients
All plants need a wide array of nutrients to stay healthy. Without proper nutrition, even the hardiest plants can struggle to grow.
Consequently, cut flowers with access to nutrients may survive longer than those placed in old soil or plain tap water. You may want to add some soluble organic fertilizer to your soil container before putting cut flowers in it.
How To Keep Cut Flowers Alive in Soil
Now that you know what aspects can lengthen or shorten a flower’s longevity, it’s time to discuss how to use this knowledge to help keep freshly cut blooms looking healthy for the longest possible time.
Generally, you’ll want to:
- Keep the soil moist
- Fertilize the soil beforehand
- Place the cut bloom in a sunny space
Keep the Soil Moist
Flower stems suck up water and transport it to the bloom, keeping petals looking luscious and healthy. This way, moist soil can act almost like a skin lotion, keeping moisture inside the flower and preventing it from drying out.
If you’re determined to put a cut flower in the soil, you’ll want to ensure the soil is moist. Letting the water evaporate without replenishing it can lead to a dried-out, dead bloom. You might also want to fertilize the soil before placing your cut flower.
Fertilize the Soil Beforehand
As discussed earlier, all plants need nutrients to thrive. Fertilizers work by imparting life-sustaining nutrients into growing media, including soil.
So if you’re looking to keep cut flowers looking their best for the longest possible time, you may want to mix in some organic fertilizer. After all, synthetic chemical fertilizers may be too intense for cut flower stems, resulting in damaged stems and wilting blooms.
Place the Cut Flower in a Sunny Space
If possible, you’ll want to place the bloom and its soil container in a sunny spot. Sunlight is key to plant photosynthesis, which creates food for plants. By putting your cut blooms in a sunny space, you can help them remain healthy for a longer time.
Why Keeping Cut Flowers in Water May Be Better
While cut blooms can grow roots and form into partially self-sustaining plants, most will dry out and wither away when placed in soil. Those hoping to keep flowers looking vibrant and healthy for the longest possible time may want to put them in water instead.
There are several reasons why a water-filled vase is the better option for freshly cut flowers. For example:
- Soil can clog the stem
- Vases are cleaner than soil-filled containers
- You can monitor flower health more conveniently in a vase
Let’s quickly review these aspects to ensure your flowers look great days or weeks after being cut.
Soil Can Clog the Stem
Keeping the stem of your flower debris-free and open is crucial to keeping the bloom alive. After all, the stem is responsible for bringing nutrient-rich water to the flower. In this way, stems are like drinking straws.
If the bottom of the ‘straw’ gets clogged with soil, it’ll struggle to carry water, resulting in a fast-dying flower. Luckily, soil clogs aren’t a problem when you keep cut flowers in a water-filled vase.
Vases Are Cleaner Than Soil-Filled Containers
While a soil-filled container can be a top-notch choice for indoor plants or outdoor container gardens, they’re not nearly as clean as water-filled vases. If you’re planning on showing off some beautiful fresh-cut flowers, putting them in a soil-filled pot can get messy quickly.
Besides, soil can harbor insects and fungal spores. So keeping a soil-filled container on your dining room table or by your kitchen sink can lead to indoor mold issues or pest problems.
Bagged soil, particularly garden soil, often contains insects, including fleas, fly larvae, fungus gnats, and ants. Unless you’re using a small amount of sterilized soil to house your flowers, you might quickly find that your flowers have become a source of problems instead of aesthetic joy.
A simple water-filled vase is less likely to attract or introduce insects to your indoor spaces. Besides, monitoring the health of your cut flowers is far easier when you’re using a vase, especially a transparent model.
You Can Monitor Flower Health More Conveniently in a Vase
When you place cut flowers into the soil, they may sprout roots and become full-fledged flowering plants. However, they can also become a muddy mess that quickly wilts and rots away.
Still, there’s no way to find out without pulling the flowers from the soil, potentially damaging the roots, or getting dirt all over your indoor surfaces. Using a vase is a far more straightforward option, as you can safely remove the flowers from the container to check their stems for signs of poor health.
If you’re using a glass vase or container, you don’t need to remove the flowers to check on the stems! Water slime, dead leaves, and browning stems are far more visible in transparent glass vases, making it easy to diagnose potential problems and fix them quickly.
Cut flowers placed in the soil can last anywhere from several days to several weeks. The specific flower species is one of the most impactful factors influencing its longevity, but environmental factors like moisture levels, sunlight exposure, and soil nutrients can also affect post-cut lifespan as well.
To keep your freshly cut blooms looking their best for the longest possible time, you’ll likely want to place them in a vase instead of planting them in soil. After all, soil can clog the stem, making it challenging for it to absorb water and nutrients.