How To - Dried Flowers


Garden Stories

Keep Cut Lilacs Fresh Longer with These Tips

Lilac cuttings

For many people, lilacs are a sentimental flower.

My mother planted many lilacs on our farm in Kansas. The scent carried across the yard as I played. When my husband and I started our family, planting a lilac in our garden was a priority so our children will have the same heavenly memory of the fragrance and flower.

Over the years I have tried to bring the bounty of this flower into my home and have often failed. The flowers would droop within an hour of bringing them inside, even though I had them in a clean vase full of fresh water. Through trial and error I found the trick to help the blooms last as long as possible:

Trimming lilac

Fill a bucket

Fill a bucket half full of fresh, cool water, and have it at hand as you cut blooms.

Pick flowers

Pick flowers in the cool of the morning or evening. Lilacs open very little after harvest, so choose stems that have at least three-quarters of the flowers open. Next, remove all of the leaves so the plant isn’t putting its effort into keeping the leaves hydrated. Place stems in the water. Leave the bucket in a cool, dark place and allow the flowers to take up water for at least an hour.

Removing lilac leaves

Remove leaves

Remove all of the leaves from each stem.

Cutting lilac ends

Recut stem ends

Next, using heavy clippers, recut the stem ends, then slice vertically up the stem 1-2 inches. Grasp one side of the sliced stem and twist backward. Immediately place the cut stems back into the bucket of water.  Allow the stems to take up more water in a cool, dark place for another one to two hours. The lilacs will then be ready for arranging, and will last three to four days.

Twisting lilac ends

Slice and twist

Grasp one side of the sliced stem and twist backward.

Lilac bouquet

Our finished bouquet

An arrangement of fragrant Evangeline hyacinth lilac Syringa ×hyacinthiflora (‘Evangeline’).