In preparation for lilac season and Rochester’s Lilac Festival, I include this post on caring for cut lilacs, since the method is very different from caring for many other types of flowers.  I consulted Doc Lilac on how to properly care for lilacs once they’ve been cut so they’ll last longer. 

Lilacs need special care after they're cut

Lilacs need special care after they're cut

Here is his recommendation:

  1. Be sure you use sharp pruning scissors.
  2. Cut lilacs early in the morning or late in the day because mid-day heat will wilt them.
  3. As soon as you’ve cut them, immediately plunge the stems into lukewarm water that has  flower preservative in it.
  4. Take off all foliage.  If you leave the foliage on, the nutrients from the water will go to the leaves rather than the buds.
  5. If you want foliage, cut separate stems of leaves and place those in the water.
  6. If you move your flowers to another vase, recut the stems under water, if possible, and immediately move them to the vase filled with lukewarm water that has floral preservative in it.  The reason for cutting the stems under water is so that air bubbles don’t get into the stems, preventing them from getting the nutrients.

Enjoy your beautiful bouquet of fresh cut lilacs!

Please note: If you are attending Rochester’s Lilac Festival, it is prohibited to take clippings from the plants in Highland Park.