When buying (or harvesting) a bouquet of sunflowers for yourself or someone special, it’s important to know how long they will last you inside the vase. They’ll live out their normal life cycle when blooming from the ground, but once they’ve been cut, they won’t live their full life. So, how long do sunflowers last once they’ve been cut?
After being cut from their nestled home, sunflowers will last from six to twelve days, so long as they are properly cared for. Sunflowers that are standing straight up and are still slightly closed are more likely going to live their maximum vase life than partially-closed sunflowers.
To learn how to best properly care for your sunflowers so they can stand pretty in your vase for the most amount of time, continue reading.
How Long Will Sunflowers Last in their Vase?
Sunflowers last for between six to twelve days once they’ve been cut, but generally, they will last for one week in a vase. With the best care and a good amount of sunlight, sunflowers can last for up to two full weeks. If they have been harvested at the optimal stage of blooming at the right time of day with cooler temperatures, your sunflowers will last longer.
When to Cut Sunflowers
When choosing the right time to cut sunflowers, watch for vibrant, blooming sunflowers that look healthy and sturdy. This means that they are standing straight up and their petals are still perpendicular to their head, but you can still see the disc florets (they should look like they’ve just begun to bloom). If the petals have been fully opened, it’s likely that the petals will begin to fall within the next couple of days.
Cutting sunflowers when the petals are pointing towards you will be the optimal harvesting time for the sunflowers, as they will continue to open in their vase. You’ll also want to cut them in the morning when fall temperatures are at their coolest. Generally, this is at sunrise.
You can look for these traits when choosing a pre-arranged bouquet of sunflowers at the market or the flower shop. Keep in mind that if you choose a bouquet of sunflowers that are fully open, they won’t last quite as long in the vase and may begin to dry up, or the petals may begin to fall soon after placing them in the vase. However, if you’re looking for sunflowers with a presentable look, such as when you want to give sunflowers to a special person, look for sunflowers that are fully in bloom. But expect the sunflowers to last less than they would if they were still slightly closed.
How to Care for Your Sunflowers
When you bring home your beautiful bouquet of sunflowers, you’ll want to give them the proper care to maximize their vase life. Generally, your bouquet, if purchased at a flower shop or farmer’s market, will come wrapped in a rubber band or plastic. Place the wrapped flowers in a cup or vase of water in a cool place so their stems can get hydrated while you prepare the vase. Then, fill a clean vase with room temperature water and add a packet of flower food to the water.
Usually, your bouquet will come with a packet of flower food, but if you pick the flowers yourself, you will want to purchase flower food from a florist or farmers market. Otherwise, you can make the flower food yourself. Do this by mixing 1 teaspoon each of sugar and lemon juice, as well as a few drops of bleach into 4 cups of water.
You could also do a mixture of 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of sugar, and 1 tablespoon of vinegar into the water to keep your sunflowers healthy. Dilute this mixture with 4 cups of water.
Next, you’ll want to cut the stems at the bottom. Cut each individual sunflower stem at a slant, at least half an inch from the bottom. This will ensure that they are able to drink up a maximum amount of water and flower food to keep them thriving. Check how much of the stems will be submerged in water, then pull off any leaves below the water line.
Be sure to check on your sunflowers frequently, as they have large, thick stems, so they will need new water every so often. When the water is cloudy, your sunflowers need fresh water. When changing the water in the vase, rinse the stems from the cloudy water and recut them on a slant about a half inch from the bottom. In between refreshes, you can add more water when the water level gets low, as sunflowers absorb water quickly.
Lastly, place your vase in a spot near a window that gets the most direct sunlight possible, and keep your blinds or curtains open. Like any flower, sunflowers thrive best in the sun, so be sure to keep them in the sun as much as possible so they remain vibrant for as long as possible.
What to Do When Sunflowers Droop Early
When sunflowers begin to droop at the top of the step and start to close up, this is a sign that they are at the end of their life or they are not in optimal living conditions. If your sunflowers begin to droop before they get to the 12-day mark, you can still revive them. This is generally a sign that your sunflowers need new water.
Remove your sunflowers from their vase, rinse their stems, and then cut the bottoms of each individual stem at an angle. Then, place the sunflowers back in the vase with new, room-temperature water. Add more flower food if desired.
Different Places to Get Sunflowers and How Long they Last
If you cut your sunflowers yourself from your garden (or from a sunflower garden festival that allows you to cut your own sunflowers) you’ll be able to get them to last much closer to 2 weeks long, so long as you cut them at the optimal harvesting time and care for them properly. If you purchase sunflowers from the farmers market, a florist, or from a grocery store, you likely will only find sunflowers that are fully bloomed.
This can affect how long they will last in the vase. Sunflowers that are fully opened up won’t take long before they begin to wilt and droop or drop their petals, so you’re going to get a shorter vase life out of them than if you cut them yourself. You can, however, maximize the amount of time they will take to wilt by caring for them properly, but expect them to thrive for closer to one week.