You Can Make $3.99 Trader Joe’s Flowers Last 2 Weeks. Seriously.

Living in a city means there are an abundance of Trader Joe’s (I mean, we could use more but there are still a lot). Besides affordable turkey burgers and everything bagel seasoning, they also offer pre-made flower bunches at some pretty reasonable price ranges (3.99, 5.99, and 9.99). Flowers are such a great way to “treat yourself” and spruce up your apartment…but buying flowers from a grocery store means they’ll just die in 3 days, right? Wrong.

I (Tess) am lucky enough to have an insider on the flower business…specifically, my mom. My mom and aunt have owned a flower shop for 20 years and I worked there all the way through school. Although I have now memorized an infinite amount of gerbera daisy color names, like Pink Flamingo, Black Tea, and Melon Orange, etc, etc…I have also come away with lots of tips and tricks to make flowers last the extra mile.

In the Store:

When you’re in the store, it’s important to feel the flowers. Seriously, don’t feel bad..it’s like feeling produce. Here are some things to look out for:

  • If you’re getting a bunch with roses/peonies/tulips, gently squeeze the bottom of the rose where the bloom meets the stem. It should be firm and not give its shape. If it is soft and easily bends…find another bunch, that rose will likely only last 3-4 more days.
  • There are certain flowers that work really well and last a long time, some commonly carried at local DC Trader Joe’s include:
    • Alstroemerias
    • Green Hydrangea (sometimes called ‘mojito’)
    • Roses
    • Gerbera Daises
    • Ranunculus
    • Mums
    • Stock
    • Zinnias
    • Daises
    • Sunflowers
    • Mums
    • Gyp (or baby’s breath)
    • Feverfew
    • Most kinds of greenery (Lemon Leaf, Leather Fern, Dusty Miller, Eucalyptus)
  • Try to look for a mix opened and budding flowers. All open could mean the blooms are already at their peak, whereas mostly budding flowers might mean they were stunted and not grow at all.

I usually go with the 3.99 bunch because they perfectly fit in my 3×5 diameter vase. The only issue with these is sometimes the bunches don’t include greenery. Usually, there are 1-2 bunches that always include some type of greenery. If I can’t find any, sometimes I’ll go for some silver dollar eucalyptus (under 4.99) and put the leftovers in a taller vase by my front door.

Without further ado…here are my favorite tips for keeping things ~fresh~:

  1. Before you even cut your flowers for the vase, you have to make sure your vase is clean! Think of the vase like a fish bowl…if it isn’t cleaned properly, the fish will die and it’s the same for vases and flowers. Rinse the vase after each use and before each new use. Use warm-hot water, a squirt of dish soap, and a light splash of diluted bleach if you have it handy.
  2. This may seem like a no brainer…but cut and re-cut your flowers! You should cut the stems (an inch or less is fine, just make sure the cut is at an angle) 5 days after having them and refresh the water. Repeat this step after 8-10 days. If you see your plants are browning or wilting, do it closer to the 8 day mark.
  3. Don’t fill your vase all the way to the top with water. This will over-saturate your flowers! Keep it shallow enough. As long as the stems are in a few inches of water, they should be fine. Check on the water level every 2-3 days, as you may need to add a little more water if you have thirsty flowers!
  4. Put your flowers in the fridge at night. This may seem totally insane…but hey, where are most flower arrangements stored when you go to a florist? The fridge. I put my small arrangement away each night before bed and take it out when I get my morning coffee. If it is a particularly humid DC day, I might leave it in the fridge while I’m at work, too.
  5. Avoid putting them in a window sill, especially in D.C. If you’re like me, you turn your AC off when you aren’t home. The fastest way to kill flowers on a steamy, humid D.C. day is to place them in direct light all day.