How to Keep Those Peonies Gorgeous All Summer Long

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A florist shares her top tips for taking care of your blooms.

Let's face it: flowers brighten up our day anytime of year—and they're pretty much the best gift to receive ever. But there's something particularly fun about summertime florals (maybe the fact that it's peak peony season?). That said, we chatted with Bronwen Smith, the owner and lead designer of B Floral in New York City to get her tips on keeping your arrangements fresh and pretty for as long as possible.

Flowers should always be cut at a 45-degree angle. Why? “This allows for an increased surface area that will allow your flowers to absorb a greater amount of water," Smith says.

You don't need (or want) that extra foliage.
Remove all those leaves that fall below the waterline to avoid prevent bacteria from growing (which can poison the water and kill your flowers) Smith explains.

Preparation and maintenance are key to long-lasting arrangements. If you've ever woken up to sad, droopy flowers a few days after purchase—we feel you. But if you remove the foliage, cut them properly and switch out the water (Smith recommends every 2-3 days), your florals should flourish. She also recommends trimming each stem every two days so the flowers can up take more water.

Place cut flowers in warm water. Turn up the heat! “It allows the bloom to 'drink' more water stay better hydrated," Smith says.

Use bleach. Seriously. Add a half cup of bleach to the water to kill any bacteria and keep your flowers fresh for longer.