How to care for sunflowers in a vase – 4 florist tips

Sunflowers are like a little dose of sunshine, but sad droopy blooms aren’t going to make your home feel happy. That’s why you need to learn how to care for sunflowers in a vase after you’ve brought them home from the store, or cut them from the garden. 

These flowers bloom during the summer and into the autumn, making them a popular pick at this time of year, and while they have connotations to cozy, country interiors, they’ve become more lusted after in modern, stylish homes too for their bold forms and colors. Plus, they’re available in abundance right now. 

‘Sunflowers are thriving in the heat waves we’ve had this year, which makes sense seeing as they’re renowned for their strength,’ says Simon Barker, co-founder and editor at GrowYourYard.com. 

But how do you keep them looking the best once they’re in your home? Here florists and gardening experts offer their top tips. 

hugh metcalf

Hugh is an experience homes and property journalist, who writes about various topics for Livingetc, from trends and design ideas to practical tips for your homes. For this article, Hugh spoke to florists and gardeners to get their top tips for sunflower care. 

How do you care for sunflowers in a vase?

To ensure you have the longest lasting flowers, always purchase freshly cut sunflowers, or grow your own in a cut flower garden, and get them into water as soon as possible. Here’s how you can ensure they last as long as possible. 

1. Trim the stems 

‘Cut the thick stems at an angle with sharp pruners,’ suggests florist Sue Fogwell. A sharp cut ensures that you don’t pinch the water-conducting vessels in the stem of the flower. 

‘This allows the flowers to take in as much water as possible, and ensures they don’t sit on any stagnant water which can cause them to rot,’ adds Simon from GrowYourYard.com (opens in new tab).

2. Add tepid water to your vase. 

Be sure to clean out your vase before you put your sunflowers into it by washing it out with water. ‘Once you’re home, immediately place the flowers in a vase of tepid to cool water that has been prepped with a floral preservative,’ advises Sue Fogwell. Warm water is more quickly absorbed by flowers than cold water, so will help ensure your sunflowers don’t wilt. 

3. Change the water

‘Change the water every other day – more often if the water turns murky,’ suggests Nancy White, floral designer and owner of The Flower Bar (opens in new tab) in Larchmont, NY. ‘Clean the vase before refilling with new water to remove any bacteria.’ Other florists suggest changing the water every day. 

‘Trim the stems daily at an angle along with giving the flowers fresh water,’ adds Sue Fogwell, ‘plus fresh preservative, too.’

4. Add sugar and lemon to the vase

‘Add sugar and lemon into the vase to keep the sunflowers looking fresh and blooming,’ suggests Jason White, the CEO of All About Gardening (opens in new tab). ‘One teaspoon of sugar to two tablespoons of lemon juice or one tablespoon of vinegar would make a good enough mixture. This will delay your cut sunflowers from wilting fast.’

5. Place out of direct sunlight

‘Place your sunflower’s vase in an area where direct sunlight can’t reach it,’ adds Jason. ‘Unlike planted sunflowers, cut sunflowers don’t like as much sun exposure.’ You should also avoid placing sunflowers near heat sources, or in cool drafts, like from air conditioning, for example. 

sunflowers in a large vase

(Image credit: Funnyhowflowersdothat.co.uk)

How long do sunflowers last in a vase?

With proper care and attention, sunflowers should last a good week in a vase. However, the overall range will be between five days and two weeks. 

Why are my sunflowers drooping in the vase?

In a vase, sunflowers will commonly droop or wilt if they’re lacking in water. To remedy, change the water, give them a quick trim at an angle and add in some sugar and lemon, or floral preservative, into lukewarm water. This should get them back to looking their best in no time. 

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