Fall is upon us, and one of the favorite flowers for fall (say that 3 times really fast!) are sunflowers. They are gorgeous, easy to grow, and make beautiful arrangements for fall decorating.
Unfortunately, a lot of people have told me they have had a lot of trouble keeping sunflowers from wilting after picking. But after you read these tips, you will have sunflower arrangements that will last a week or more! I hope you enjoy the tips (and the pretty flower pics in between)! 🙂
5 Tips On How To Keep Sunflowers Alive And Fresh!
1. Water thoroughly a few hours before picking.
Sunflowers grow very tall and need a lot of water to survive. When the ground they are growing in dries out, they will wilt quickly. Picking them when the ground is dry will produce the same result, even if they are not wilted before picking.
A few hours (or the night) before picking, water the sunflowers thoroughly. This will give the sunflowers time to soak up as much water as possible, so when you pick them they will be at their optimal freshness.
2. Pick in the early morning.
Sunflowers obviously like the sun, but they dry out quickly during the day when the sun is beating down on them. Picking them at this time will only add insult to injury and you will have a bunch of wilted, petal losing sunflowers on your hands!
Try to pick sunflowers in the first couple of hours after dawn. They had the whole night to rejuvenate their water supply, and since it’s still cool in the early morning, they will not wilt when picked.
3. Cut stems at an angle.
I’m sure you’ve heard this one before- if you cut stems at an angle, there is more surface area of the stem available to soak up more water. I also think this helps because straight cut stems will rest flat on the bottom of a vase, blocking them from being able to soak up much water. Either way, it seems to make the sunflowers happy, so I’m sticking with it. 🙂
4. Put stems in water immediately after picking.
Like I mentioned before, sunflowers are big with long stems and heavy flowers. They need to be kept in water as much as possible to prevent them from wilting. Putting them in water immediately after picking will keep them well hydrated and lessen the shock of being picked. I usually carry around a 5 gallon bucket filled with a few inches of water while I’m picking so I can stick them in water immediately.
5. Change the water every day.
I’ve tried a multitude of over-the-counter and homemade flower preservers, and frankly none has ever worked as well as simply changing the water in the vase every day. The idea here is to keep the bacteria levels low to slow the decomposition of the flowers. And when I did try flower preservers and just topped off the water as the sunflowers needed, the water and flower stems were pretty stinky when it was time to part company with them. Changing the water every day will make them last longer and there will be minimal to no smell once it’s time to throw them into the compost pile.
Let me know what you think or if you have any sunflower-saving tips of your own you’d like to share!
Melissa Royer says
I put a penny in the water, the copper also deters bacterial growth, in fact there are medical supplies now infused with copper for this very same reason. It works!
Michelle @ The Painted Hinge says
Thanks for sharing the tip Melissa! Certainly a great use for all the pennies that accumulate around our house. 🙂
Modern pennies are made of zinc.
Pennies before 1982 are made of copper, 1982 pennies were zinc and copper… so the 1983 pennies are made of zinc.
So after there life has expired will they make seeds to regrow from a vase. They were given to me that way from my brothers funeral that was his favorite flower so I’m trying to keep his memory alive.
What an awesome idea to keep your brother’s memory alive. Thanks so much for sharing <3
Liz Szafranski says
Thanks for the beautiful display of Sunflowers as you explained everything; I’ll try your way first of changing water every day and perhaps cutting the stem too. Best regards.
You’re very welcome Liz! 🙂
How can I keep sunflowers from wilting in a bridal bouquet? There won’t be any water for them.
I don’t know so I Googled your question and I didn’t find anything. Maybe ask a florist about it?
Sorry I couldn’t be of more help!
Tina Fisher says
Get those little capsules that the stems go into filled with water and rubber caps and wrap the bottoms in ribbon or toile to cover them.
Barb, try Crowning Glory. It is a spray preservative that coats the petals and helps prevent moisture loss. It works great for all my arrangements. Good luck!
Thank you for sharing these tips! Sunflowers are so seasonal, and I love them so much! They make a great decoration.
You’re very welcome McKenzie! 🙂 I’m glad they were helpful!
Laura Jean Tew says
I am going to use Sunflowers from a neighbor’s garden for a baby shower on Sunday. When should I cut them and how do I store them until use?
Hi Laura – sorry for the delayed reply. I would not cut them until the very last minute to keep them as fresh as possible. When you do cut them, put them in water immediately and keep them in a cool place out of direct sunlight until the party.
Thank you for making the answer to my question so simple and exactly what I was looking for. I’ve been watching utube videos and nothing compares to how you answered what I wanted to know. Love ❤️
You’re so welcom Lynn! I’m glad that you found this helpful! 🙂
i got sunflowers today but i need them to stay alive until tuesday for a promposal. How do i keep them alive until then?
Hi Richie, the tips I outlined here should help, but it really depends on how fresh they were when you bought them. My tips are intended for fresh cut flowers. Good luck! Good
Hi I’m just saw your question I am looking into the answer to this myself my wedding is fast approaching in the end of September of this year my favourite flower is Sunflowers too. I am thinking of instead of using a florist use tips online for keeping them healthy i heaf the penny idea to work wonders aswell and of course make sure they are properly nourished. What I am thinking of is buying those tubes you’d get from the flower shop that you put on the end of the stem that you cut which has water and nutrients in it so the flowers won’t wilt I have 9 girls in my wedding party so they each get one sunflower I’m still unsure about my bouquet I might get the florist to make mine but we will see. Good luck on your wedding day may it be beautiful and may your flowers help compliment your big day aswell 😍
Thank you Julie! I hope your wedding day is everything you dreamed it would be! 🙂
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Jennifer Johnson says
Loved your article! I was wondering if you had any suggestions for traveling with them. I’m throwing a baby shower in California for my daughter in law and we.live in Washington, so I will need them to keep for 2 days. I wasnt sure if a cooler or box of some sort would be good 9t just some big vases secured some how.
Thank you very much!!
Valerie Binder says
Is there a way to stop the pollen from dropping each day?
Hi Valerie, very sorry about the late reply.
I don’t know of any way off hand to keep the pollen from dropping each day (it does make a mess, doesn’t it?). I’d try spraying the sunflower face with a flower preserver or even hair spray. If you try either of these, let me know how it goes! 🙂
Sue Dieringer says
A 1982 or earlier dated penny revives color in fresh cut flowers. A little sugar not quite a teaspoon helps revive fresh cut flowers along with changing water every day or two. 😎 Sue D
Awesome tips Sue! Thanks for sharing!
Artirea C. Decatur says
Hi, these are my first crops. I bought some sunflowers at the beginning of the month. And with work and school I had forgotten to set them out for about “6 hours”. And evenually i gave in. Now it’s been a week or two, and my flowers have all dried out. I believe I have the ability to rejuvenate the surface! What are some tips before I clip?
Hi Artirea, I’m not sure I’m understanding what you’re asking, but if I am understanding it correctly, I don’t think it’s possible to rejuvenate cut sunflowers that are a week old, let alone if they were not in water for 6 hours at first.