How to Prolong the Life of Your Grocery Store Flowers — and the 4 Best Long-Lasting Blooms to Pick

Tips from tastemakers on the best stems to pick up from the grocery store for looks and longevity

Hydrangeas in a vase
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A bountiful bouquet – or even a small bunch of flowers - instantly lifts a room. However, with indoor heating and air-con, those beautiful blooms don't always last as long as we'd like.  

Thankfully, there are ways to make flowers last longer. These involve changing the water every couple of days to prevent bacteria build-up, snipping the stems and other tricks. 

Some flowers do also last longer than others – and we've got tips from tastemakers on what to choose and how to care for them. Discover the best cut flowers for floral arrangements that you can find in a grocery store and that last a long time.

1. Gladioli

Gladioli in a vase

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With their towering trumpet-like flowers, Gladioli make a sensational floral display. Big, bold and colorful, it's no surprise these structured stems top the list of stylists' favored florals.

'My favourite grocery store flowers are Gladioli (from Whole Foods),' says London and New York-based interior stylist, Rebecca McEvoy. 'They're so tall and dramatic and look great in a big chunky glass vase in the middle if your credenza or sideboard. 

'Gladioli are available in a random rainbow of colours, which adds to their towering cheer. Change their water every 2-3 days and take off any bottom flowers as they fade to help the tops ones open up.'

2. Hydrangeas

hydrangeas in a glass vase

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It's no surprise the beautiful blousy hydrangea makes it onto the hit list of blooms stylists always pick. These floral favorites look gorgeous as a single stem, in a trio or part of a larger display. But long lasting? Yes, if you know how to take care of hydrangeas in a vase.

'My second choice are Hydrangeas, coming in an array of colours,' says stylist, Rebecca McEvoy. 'I love the big electric blue mopheads or an antique red or blue which are mottled with green. They are a little more high maintenance, but so worth it to get the most out of these blooms. 

'My hydrangea hack is... When you get them home take off some of the bottom leaves and fill your sink or bath tub with icy cold water. Submerge them fully, petal heads and all, for an hour or so. 

'Next, snip the bottom of the stems and dip the ends in just boiled water for approx 30 seconds. This gets rid of any air or sap that prevents water getting up the stem (and watch the little bubbles come out). 

'They will last so much longer and you can repeat this process again if needed. I then put them in a glass Aalto vase and place them pride of place in the middle of my dining table where they should last a couple of weeks.'

'Hydrangeas are beautiful in every way, they have a timeless quality,' adds interior stylist, Lucy Gough. 'They are one of the only flowers that drinks through their petals as well as their roots. So keep them hydrated and they’ll keep you happy.'

3. Tulips

tulips in a white ceramic vase

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This popular spring stalwart is another winner in the looks and longevity stakes. Available in an array of hues, tulips are inexpensive and easy to find. That doesn't make them any less desirable though. The tulips' simple elegance and low-maintenance requirements make them a go-to for stylists, whether for shoots or their own homes  

'Another of my favorite grocery store flowers are Tulips,' says Rebecca. 'They look so happy and bright. I like the yellow/orangey/pinky hues-and if you're lucky enough to find a double or parrot variety even better (try Trader Joes).

But how do you take care of tulips in a vase? 'They are an easy one to care for,' Rebecca adds. Just make sure they are topped up with fresh water every couple of days. Tulips look great in a kitchen or living room placed in a sculptural ceramic vase.'

'Tulips are a favourite of mine too, specifically dark purple ones,' says Lucy. 'I always use them if I want a blousy, soft, organic look. I do that by placing the base of the stems of the tulips in boiling water for about a minute and the petals open up and soften.'

4. Daffodils

daffodils in a glass vase

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It's easy to dismiss this ubiquitous spring flower, but to do so would be hasty. The humble daffodil is a seasonal pick for stylists when it comes to grocery-store flowers, loved for its ability to lift a room with its vibrant tones.

Knowing how to take of daffodils in a vase, by trimming the stems and changing their water, will extend their life too. 

'Daffodils are happiness personified; not only do they represent spring and new beginnings but they are cheerful, abundant and inexpensive,' says Lucy. 'I love styling them in a small vase with a delft pattern which really helps their yellow hues stand out.'

Jacky Parker is a London-based freelance journalist and content creator, specialising in interiors, travel and food. From buying guides and real home case studies to shopping and news pages, she produces a wide range of features for national magazines and SEO content for websites

A long-time contributor to Livingetc, as a member of the team, she regularly reports on the latest trends, speaking to experts and discovering the latest tips. Jacky has also written  for other publications such as Homes and Gardens, Ideal Home, Red, Grand Designs, Sunday Times Style and AD, Country Homes and Interiors and ELLE Decoration.