A quick informational tutorial on how to keep lilacs from wilting, because we all want to hold onto those blooms as long as we can!
Lilacs are an ephemeral experience. Their alluring aroma beckons us oftentimes before we even see their eye-catching beautiful blooms. When I detect a hint of their intoxicating fragrance, I’m like a moth to the flame. I’ll change course immediately upon picking up their scent, so I can bury my face in blooms.
After picking them as a child, I was disheartened by how quickly they wilted. I thought the lilacs were sad I had plucked them from their home. While I think picking flowers should be done consciously and to be shared, I no longer think it makes the flower sad. In fact, cutting lilac blooms actually helps the bush. Lilac bushes become top heavy when they haven’t been pruned enough!
Lilac blooms are here to remind us of the impermanence of life, and that it’s OK to let go. However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do all that we can to prolong their enjoyment!
How to Keep Lilacs from Wilting
Over the years, through trial and error (and googling!), I’ve found a few tricks on how to keep lilacs from wilting. I hope these help you keep your lilacs fresh longer, and if you have other tricks, drop them in the comments!
Before harvesting lilac blooms, have a bucket of cool water ready for the freshly cut blooms. Harvest lilacs early in the morning or later in the evening. The idea here is to avoid harvesting in the middle of a hot day.
Lilac flowers open very little once harvested, so choose blooms that are mostly open. Use a sharp pruners, and cut the stems at a 45-degree angle. Remove all or most of the leaves from the stem. Leaves require water too, so the less the better. I prefer some foliage in bouquets, so I do leave some. Alternatively, you can separate the leaves from the stems but include them in the arrangement.
Arranging Cut Blooms
Bring your blooms inside. Fill a clean vase with warm water. Warm water helps encourage the stems to take up water. Take each stem, and cut it vertically 1–2 inches, so that the stem is split up the middle. This also encourages the stem to take up more water. Arrange the flowers in the vase. Place in a cool spot in indirect light. Replace water with warm tap water daily.
May your lilac blooms remain fresh longer, and you accept their fleeting beauty with grace.