If you are headed out to purchase flowers, but won’t be able to get them home immediately, you will need a safe way to keep them happy and healthy in the interim, but how long can flowers last in a hot car?
The answer to this varies based on the current temperatures outside. On a 90 degree day with the right planning and preparation, you should be able to keep your flowers fresh for about 2-3 hours. Longer if it is cooler outside.
The Ideal Scenario
Ideally, if you are headed out to purchase flowers, they will be the last thing you purchase at your last stop of the day. Cut flowers aren’t as resilient as established plants, so they can dry out and start to wilt rather quickly when exposed to dry air and heat.
Buying them last means you can get them home and into their permanent vase quickly. However, if that’s not possible and you need to buy the flowers on your lunch break or preserve them in your car until your evening date, there are a few tricks you can do to keep them as fresh as possible.
Where to Keep Them
If you need to purchase flowers earlier in the day, it’s best if you can bring them inside with you until you are ready to take them home or gift them to your loved one. If you can’t do that though, the best place for them in your car is on the floor in the shade. If you can also park in the shade, that is even better and will help keep your car cooler.
Bring a Cooler
If you have a cooler large enough for the plants you are buying, you can place them lying down in the cooler and have a frozen water bottle or ice pack wrapped in a towel on the other side of the cooler. You don’t want the ice to touch the flowers as it will cause them to become freezer burned and wilt, but having it in the cooler will help them maintain a cool temperature.
Use a Bucket
If you don’t have a cooler handy or don’t want to buy one, a bucket can also work. Place the bucket on the floor of your passenger’s seat and fill it about ¼ of the way full of cool, but not cold, water. The plants will be able to drink the water if they are thirsty and this will help to keep them cool and prevent wilting.
Check on Them
The ideal temperature to keep cut flowers is between 55 and 75 degrees. Higher than that and they will start to wilt. This will cut time off the lifespan of your cut flowers, causing them to die sooner.
If you are forced to get your cut flowers early in the day and don’t have a cooler or a bucket, you can simply go out to your car every hour or so and crank the AC. This isn’t an ideal method for saving time or saving gas, but it can mean the difference between giving a fresh beautiful bouquet and a wilted one.
Keep the Windows Down
Keeping the windows in your car partially rolled down can also help to control the temperatures when your car is in the shade. If it’s an extremely hot day it won’t help much, but if it’s only mildly hot and there is a nice breeze it can make a pretty big difference.
Prepping Your Flowers
After you get the flowers home, you will want to prep them for your loved one or for yourself. Start by grabbing the vase you want to use and giving it a thorough washing. You don’t want any lingering dirt or debris in the vase as this could foul the water.
Next, you will want to fill your vase with fresh spring water that is lukewarm or room temperature. Cut flowers can absorb water better when it is warm, so warm but not hot is ideal for when you initially place them in the vase.
Remove your flowers from any packaging and cut each stem at an angle. You will want to cut at least an inch off each stem, but more is fine if they are long-stemmed and it’s a short vase. It’s recommended when cutting that you use plant trimming clippers or a sharp knife as scissors can sometimes pinch the stems and prevent water absorption.
Add plant food to the water-based on the instructions on the packet or container. Most cut flowers come with a packet of plant food, but if yours didn’t, you will want to buy it separately. This food is very important to preserving your flowers and getting the most out of their time with you!
After all this prep work, all that’s left is to place your flowers in the water and put them in your preferred spot or give them to your loved one.
Cut flowers make a great gift and are a wonderful way to brighten up any space. Keeping them fresh until you can get them to your destination can be a bit of an obstacle, but one that can be easily overcome with the right planning!