The Nine Lives of a Single Flower Arrangement- How to Get the Most Out of Your Floral Bouquets

I am a flower person. Period. And if you’re even a semi-regular reader, you know that. But I’m willing to bet that even if you don’t think you’re a flower person, you totally could be one. Most people I’ve heard say “I’m not really a flower person” don’t say it because they don’t like receiving them, but because they don’t know what to do with them after they have them. “Flowers die, and then what?” Well, fine food gets eaten but that didn’t stop you from enjoying each bite of savory steak at the likely-too-expensive steakhouse, right? You eventually have to come home from vacation but that didn’t stop you from having fun on your adventures while you were there. The fact is, some of life’s greatest pleasures are temporary but that shouldn’t keep us from enjoying them. Flowers are no different. But today, I want to share what I do to enjoy those beauties for as long as possible. I’ve partnered with FTD Flowers to share how to get the most out of your floral bouquets; you can find my full sponsored post and affiliate disclosure HERE.


My mom and I don’t live close and without a doubt, having a flower arrangement delivered is my go-to gift for her, for any occasion. I like to imagine her face when she is surprised (kind of this humble-pout look, like “aw, you shouldn’t have! (but I’m so glad you did”) at work or opens the door at home to a deliveryman holding her favorite stems on a Saturday morning. She is also the person who taught me how to give nine lives to a flower arrangement, so I know whenever I send her flowers, she will enjoy them for upwards of a month. You may have noticed in the past that I can start off with a huge arrangement and even though that dwindles, I always seem to have little floral moments and buds spread throughout the house. If you have ever been the person to toss an entire arrangement if half goes bad (without salvaging the survivors), or the person who keeps all the stems in the same wide mouth vase, plucking one dead flower at a time, even when you are down to two awkward long stems, this is for you 😉 Today, I’m gonna break it down (no pun intended haha).

Kitchen floral arrangement pop of color

This beautiful bouquet by FTD was arranged and delivered by my local florist. When I receive a large arrangement, filled with all the good stuff, I like to use them as a stand-alone or centerpiece to really let them shine while all the stems are at their best. Save the bookshelf for later 😉

Kitchen island flowers with basket of apples

I try to pick out a spot they will immediately be noticed. And while you want guests to be able to see and enjoy them too, make sure to put them in a place you will see them and enjoy them often.

FTD Rose Flower Arrangement

Foyer flowers with how to style plush pumpkins

To maximize their bouquet lifespan, I try to do the following:

  1. Change the water every other day and snip the bottom of the stems (I am bad at this and usually wait for the first hint one of my stems is starting to go- whoops!)
  2. Know that certain flowers naturally last longer than others. Smaller field-like flowers and mums, gerbera daisies, carnations, dahlias, and alstroemeria are easy and an hang around (maybe even longer than you’d care for them to!)
  3. Stay stocked up on flower food. I try not to hog an entire bin, but if I am picking something up at the grocery store, as long as there is no sign saying “one packet per arrangement” (and there never has been), I’ll grab a couple packs of food at a time.

Roses and lilies from FTD

Ok, so when they start to go… what then? Well, that is probably my favorite time. If only a few stems have died, you can just remove them. If the vessel is suddenly too large or leaves holes, you can transfer them to another vase, all together. OR, this is when you can start splitting your arrangement for mini arrangements to fill your entire home. Depending on the arrangement, I usually start by gathering a few stems of the same variety. THIS is when I start utilizing spaces like my bookshelves.

How to use pink flower stock on a bookshelf

One stem, trimmed down, makes such an impact. At this point, I don’t try to make my flowers the “star” of the show; I try to incorporate them into little vignettes that can be improved by adding some life and pretty petals.

Flowers in a pitcher on a cutting board

Wingback chair with pink lilies

Small flower arrangement with pink lilies

The first and the last place I will put my tiniest little floral moment is on the kitchen sink soap pedestal.

Rose buds on a soap stand in the kitchen

And I use every single part of the arrangement, down to the last sprig of greenery.

Sprig of greenery on buffet and cake stand

And undoubtedly, you will have a few blooms that start to outlive the others in their mini-arrangements. That’s when I gather the survivors and bring them back together. I never limit myself to actual flower vases. You know my motto- if it has an opening and can hold water, it can hold flowers.

Roses in a teacup on a tea service

Do you naturally “stretch” your flowers and break them up or do you tend to see how long you can keep them together as one big family? When you start being more “involved” and realize just how long the final blooms can last, it won’t matter how small or grand the arrangement is. You will start to look at a vase of flowers and immediately start to imagine them in all their life stages, spread on surfaces throughout your entire home. Last week, we talked about the impact a single “just because” card can make (HERE) (have you started yet??). Whether you want to help someone celebrate an upcoming special occasion, or you just want take that “just thinking of you” gesture a step further, you can see the full assortment of FTD’s “We Can Arrange That” HERE, for any occasion (or non-occasion 😉 ). Have tips/go-to occasions for ordering flowers? I’d love to hear about them in the comment section below.

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  1. 10.23.17
    Kelly said:

    I don’t bring in fresh flowers as often as I should, but when I do have them I do the same thing. I even go so far as to keep any babies breath or fillers after trimming the stems where they have been in water. And I dry all roses that come into my house.

    • 10.23.17

      Kelly, that is awesome. I do not do a good job of drying flowers- every once in awhile, I will dry my hydrangeas but I love that you do that each time!

  2. 10.23.17

    love this! I definitely break the arrangements down to stretch it out too. I find that stems even of the same type (hydrangea) die at different paces, I just tossed 80% of a bouquet and kept one bloom for an entry table and one for the guest bathroom.

    • 10.23.17

      Lauren, exactly! That is perfect! Even if I am lagging behind on splitting, one salvageable bloom is worth it!

  3. 10.23.17

    While I love a gorgeous arrangement, I have to admit I adore the smaller ones once broken apart. They just add more cheer. I also love using things other than traditional vases to display them. Just adds character.

    • 10.23.17

      Lauren, I love when it’s time to break it up because it’s like bringing in a whole bunch of new flowers when you can scatter them around. And, it’s so simple to take one or two stems and turn them into a magical little moment 😉

  4. 10.23.17
    Tamara said:

    You know how I feel about your arrangements and this one is stunning! I can’t believe how you’ve created so many different arrangements – just incredible! I need to bookmark this post because I will be rereading every time! Such great tips!

    • 10.26.17

      Tamara, thank you! So fun to get a statement arrangement and then sprinkle it all around throughout the month 😉

  5. 10.23.17
    Bree said:

    Kelley, I love your tips! I do the same things just to see how much life I can get out of them, and to enjoy them as long as we possibly can!! Thanks for the additional tid-bits of info and as always, thanks for inspiring us!!! ??

    • 10.26.17

      Bree, thank you! You know, your hydrangea tips are some of my FAVORITE ever!

  6. 10.23.17
    marion said:

    I do the same thing as you Kelly….I make those suckers last!! When I get flowers delivered, I have been known to move them around the house with me…lol…my husband thinks I am completely nuts when I take them to bed with me and put them on my bedside table….It is so nice to wake up to them….then where ever I sit to have my morning coffee….that’s where the flowers go….

    • 10.26.17

      Marion, that is amazing; I have an image of you in my head, walking through the house in the morning- cup of coffee in one hand and a vase of flowers in the other! I love it.

  7. 10.23.17

    Love, love, love your ideas for making a flower arrangement worth getting by enjoying all of these little floral moments once they start to die off! There’s nothing more fun than a surprise delivery of flowers – this beautiful bouquet and the mini ones you made from it are some of the prettiest delivery flowers I’ve seen!

    • 10.26.17

      Kris, thank you! I was ecstatic when the FTD flowers showed up- such an awesome pick-me-up mid-week!f

  8. 10.23.17
    Jennifer said:

    Gorgeous floral arrangement Kelley! The colors are stunning and the different types of flowers make such a unique and beautiful combination. I love your tips and the way you styled your mini arrangements too. Great post!

    • 10.26.17

      Jen, thank you! As much as we use and enjoy flowers, we gotta make the most of ’em! 😉

  9. 10.24.17
    Randi said:

    Fresh flowers in the home is a definite must! I love how you have split then apart to make them each sing on their own! Bring on the fresh flowers!!! xo

    • 10.26.17

      Randi, yes! And sing- I love that! Thank you so much for visiting xoxo

  10. 10.24.17
    Erin said:

    Kel you are the flower whisperer! LOVED your tips! And oh my word.. what a beautiful arrangement. You style everything so gorgeous in your home. I’m seriously debating a late night flower run after reading your post! 🙂 xo

    • 10.26.17

      Haha, Erin, treat yo’self! If I don’t have fresh flowers, I start to feel like something is just missing in here.

  11. 10.24.17
    Amanda said:

    Great post! I love flowers especially from the farmers market. I will be using these tips for sure.

    • 10.26.17

      Amanda, that is awesome! Thank you for stopping by!

  12. 10.24.17

    Love this post! Thanks for the tips! I usually just feel guilty throwing out my flowers once a few of them look bad. Now I need to find some cute little vases to put the long lasting flowers in 🙂

    • 10.26.17

      Emily, I have so been there! Once you start salvaging and rearranging, I bet you’ll appreciate flower surprise deliveries more, too! xoxo

  13. 10.24.17
    Terrie said:

    I love how flowers can make someone smile. Your flower arrangements look so lovely and makes your home so beautiful and colorful. Thanks for the tips. I want to go out and buy some for my home!

    • 10.26.17

      Terrie, thank you so much! Yes- it will make everything happier in minutes!

  14. 10.25.17
    Gretchen Thomas (Nan) said:

    LOVE all of the tips! Fresh flowers are the most gracious of things…no matter the size of the arrangement or the vessel. I love the original sumptuous bouquet and the smaller ones, too!

    • 10.26.17

      Nan, thank you! I learned if from you (which you already know) 😉 xo

  15. 11.1.17
    Andrea said:

    Excellent tips Kelley. I usually just keep in one arrangement – you’ve inspired me to see how long I can make my next bunch last!
    If I’m out of flower food I use a splash of clear lemonade – I was told the sugar helped. Seems to help…..

  16. 11.10.17

    I want to get a good friend of mine some flower arrangements. She is in love with floral designs and patterns and I can imagine that she would enjoy having the actual thing. When I give them to her I will let her know to just remove any stems that have died to extend its life.