Which cut flowers last the longest?

Photo Credit: Getty ImagesPhoto Credit: Getty ImagesThose of us without gardens or window boxes rely heavily on cut flowers (and public parks) for our flower fixes, but wilted bloom after shedding leaf has left us wary of picking up a cheap bouquet from the corner store. Thank goodness for New York magazine's "Everything Guide to Flowers" in the June 2 issue: It gives best-case-scenario survival times for 11 types of flowers, along with specific tips for extending their shelf lives. (See Katie Charles' full article for those.) Here, a quick rundown of your best-bet blossoms:

Short-lived: Irises
Slightly longer: Gerbera daisies and tropical flowers like heliconia
A solid investment: Peonies, roses, lilies and flowering branches
Even better: Mums, carnations and gladiolas
The winner: Sexy, novel- and movie-inspiring orchids

Another flower-longevity tip I picked up from New York's excellent package comes from Kaija Helmetag's story about a deli-flower design face-off between even designer David Stark and artist Paula Hayes. Stark says, "The shorter you cut the flower, the longer they'll last, because the water has less stem to travel up to reach the flower." Has anyone out there experienced this to be true? What's your best trick for making cut flowers last longer? Comment away! And be sure to check out nymag.com for more flower fun.

If you still feel discouraged by the ephemeral result of any flower-arranging effort, give Sarah McColl's (of Pink of Perfection) d.i.y. perma-flower project a try.

Related links on Shine:
Cheap, charming vases for single blooms
An easy, long-lasting flower arrangement you don't need any skills to pull off
Modern, arty vases from Eva Menz: just as gorgeous without the flowers
Why not use a hand-painted pitcher to display your bouquet?