5 game-changing tips for taking care of lilies in a vase - how to keep these this floral beauties lovely for longer

This simple know-how from floral experts will ensure your cut lilies flourish and last so much longer in vase

Pink lilies from Flowerbx
(Image credit: Flowerbx)

With their proud trumpet shaped petals, tall stems and pretty tones, lilies are a firm favorite in the world of florals. Whether gifting to others or treating yourself, it's worth knowing how to take care of lilies in a vase, so they stay looking lovely for longer. 

Like many flowers, there are hundreds of varieties of lily. Among the most popular are Asiatic, Oriental, Star gazer, Tiger and Easter lilies, as well as hybrids like the Roselily. Although not technically part of the same family, Calla Lilies are a floral favorite too - loved for their simplicity and elegance.

Varying from pure white to explosions of pink, orange, yellow, red and shades in between, it's easy to keep these beautiful flowers flourishing. Lilies are one of the best flowers for cut floral arrangements, so follow the simple steps from these floral experts for longer lasting lilies in a vase. 

How to take care of lilies in a vase

These 5 expert tips will make all the difference to how well your lilies last.

1. Trim the ends at an angle

lilies in a green glass vase

(Image credit: Future / Simon Bevan)

Don't be tempted to just place your lilies in a vase as they are. Trimming the stems is not only necessary to create a beautiful arrangement, with flowers placed at different heights to highlight each one. A quick snip in the right place will also extend the life of your lilies.

'All flower stems must be re-cut to enable absorption of water,' says Joan Wyndrum, co-founder, Bloomsbythebox. 'Ideally trim stems while holding them under water. Cut at least one inch from the bottom of the stem at a 45 degree angle to expose as much of the end as possible.' 

'Recutting the stems daily about 1/8th of an inch will help prolong their life too,' says Suzanna Cameron, founder of Stems Brooklyn. 

2. Pinch off the stamens

lilies in a vase

(Image credit: Alamy)

Lilies can shed a lot of pollen, which could stain your clothes, cause sneezing and get stuck to pets paws (to be avoided at all costs). However, it's easy enough to remedy this shedding. 

'We advise gently cutting or pinching the stamen out of the lily to keep it from staining,' says Whitney Bromberg Hawkings, Founder of Flowerbx.

'We also offer deluxe double roselilies that come without a messy stamen.'

Roselilies are a hybrid variety, known as a 'double', which means they are sterile and without stamens. Weirdly, this absence of pollen can also extend the life of the flowers.

3. Change the water daily

White lilies from Flowerbx

(Image credit: Flowerbx)

Like all life forms, cut lilies need fresh water. It's all too tempting to fill your vase once and then forget about it. However, stagnant water will kill your flowers. 

'Changing the water daily, or as often as you remember, helps reduce the growth of bacteria in the vase water which will give you more bloom life from your lilies,' says Christina at Farmgirl Flowers.

'Be sure to use a clean vase and fill it about three-quarters of the way with lukewarm water,' says Valerie Ghitelman, Vice President of Sourcing and Design, 1-800-Flowers

'Use flower food to extend the life of the blooms and make sure they maintain their strength and vibrancy. Also make sure there is no soap residue in the vase, as the residue can shorten the life of a bouquet.'

'It is important to put lilies in lukewarm water, as this will encourage them to open,' adds Whitney at Flowerbx.'

4. Keep them out of direct sunlight

Although flowers and plants need sunlight to grow, there aren't many that like to sit in the heat of the sun all day long, particularly once they've been picked. So ensure your lilies are in a spot that's bright but relatively cool, ideally away from window sills or radiators, where they will dehydrate.

'Changing the water daily is key,' says Suzanna at Stems Brooklyn. 'But it's equally important to keep flowers away from direct sunlight and heat sources like radiators if you want them to look good for longer.' 

5. Place out of reach from kids and pets

Lilies are known to be toxic to pets, so keep them well away from your feline friends in particular. Although not all varieties are toxic to dogs, it pays to be on the safe side. 

If you've already pinched off the stamens, this will prevent them shedding pollen. However, ensure they are placed somewhere they can't be touched or chewed by curious canines, kitties or kids.

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.