Lasting Blooms: Which Cut Flower Lasts the Longest?

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Updated on Apr 15, 2014

Grade Level: K - 5th; Type: Life Science

We will be observing the condition of various blossoms over a two-week period to determine which flower lasts the longest.


Which flower variety lasts the longest?
There are many ways to increase the life of cut flowers, including cutting the stem at a slant, cut off leaves from the stem, change the water daily, and adding cut flower plant food to the water. The technique to prolong the life of the bloom depends on the variety. Most people may not take the time to carefully tend to their cut flowers so finding out which flower variety produces the longest lasting blossoms will optimize enjoyment. Why buy mom flowers that will wilt within a couple days when you can give her a bouquet that lasts for weeks? To find out which flower variety lasts the longest we will test 4 different blossoms over a two- week period.

  • Single stem cut flower: Roses, Lilies, Daisies, Mums, Carnations, Gladiolas, Orchids, Tulips, etc. Some of these can be found in supermarkets. Special varieties are available at a local florist.
  • Empty water bottles, cleaned. The water bottles should be the same to eliminate variation.
  • Camera (optional)

In this example we will use 4 flowers. You can choose your own varieties and conditions.

  1. Using room temperature or cool tap water fill each water bottle with the same volume.
  2. Cut each flower stem at 10 - 12" from the base of the blossom at an angle. Depending on the height of your water bottle the height may vary but always cut each stem at the same distance.
  3. Place each stem in its own water bottle and place it in the same area making sure each flower gets an equal amount of light.
  4. Record the date and appearance of the flower. If you have a camera available take a photograph.
    1. Does it look like a freshly cut flower?
    2. Is it starting to dry out?
    3. What color is the blossom? Are the petals beginning to brown?
    4. Count the number of petals. Are any petals falling off?
      1. Everyday record the date and the appearance of the flower.
      2. Is it healthy like it was just picked?
      3. Is it starting to wilt?
      4. Is it starting to turn brown?
      5. Are petals falling off?
      6. Is it wilted?
  5. Change the water after recording your findings. Keep the temperature and volume of water the same for each flower.
  6. Repeat for 13 days or until all flower blossoms have wilted or died.
Figure 1. Setup.

Terms/Concepts: Why should flower stems be cut at an angle?; What is the best temperature of the water?; Does changing the water regularly increase the life of the flower?


  • National Audubon Society Pocket Guide to Familiar Flowers: East (The Audubon Society Pocket Guides), National Audubon Society. 1987.
Melissa Bautista is a research scientist, freelance editor, and writer, with a focus in Neuroscience. She believes in establishing solid foundations in education through experience, creativity, and collaboration. She is fascinated by pedagogy and the concept of learning through living.

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