How to Keep Cut Carnations Fresh

Things You'll Need

  • Vase

  • Floral preservative

  • Knife

Proper care extends the life of cut carnations.

Carnations are a popular flower in bouquets and floral arrangements. Carnations, or Dianthus, usually bloom in pink or white but they are dyed by florists to nearly any color imaginable. Cut carnations can be displayed for up to two weeks before the flowers wilt and they must be replaced in the vase, but only if they are properly prepared and taken care of during that time. Keeping the cut carnations fresh only requires a few minutes of time every few days and the payoff is a long lasting bouquet.

Step 1

Fill a clean vase with warm water. Place floral preservative in the vase, available from florist shops, and mix together until the preservative dissolves.

Step 2

Hold the bottom of the carnation stems under running water. Cut the bottom 1 inch off each stem with a sharp knife. Cut at a 45 degree angle so the bottom of the stem does not sit flat on the bottom of the vase. Cutting the stem under running water prevents air bubbles from entering the carnation stem and causing premature wilting.

Step 3

Place the carnations in the prepared vase. Set the vase in a cool room away from bright sunlight for 24 hours. This encourages the carnations to take in as much water and preservative as possible, which helps the blooms last longer.

Step 4

Display the carnations in an area that is away from heat sources, air vents and direct sunlight. When possible, keep the carnations in an area that is 60 to 65 degrees F.

Step 5

Replace the water and preservative every three to four days or if it becomes cloudy or dirty. Remove any dead leaves that fall into the water and remove and dispose of any flowers that begin to wilt.


If the stems become weak but the flowers still look healthy, re-cut the bottom of the stem. It may have scabbed over, preventing the uptake of water into the stem.


Do not place the carnations near ripening fruit. Fruit puts out ethylene gas as it ripens, which speeds the decomposition of the carnations.