Sometimes, you may find it necessary to keep cut flowers in your car for a few hours, or as long as overnight. Maybe you’re travelling and need to keep them in the car when staying at a hotel, or perhaps they’re a birthday or anniversary surprise that you need to keep hidden. How long will they last?
Keeping cut flowers in the car overnight depends on a few variables, the most important of which is temperature. Flowers can wilt or die in a too hot or too cold car, so you may need to resort to a few tricks to keep them looking good until it’s time to bring them out.
What to Consider if Leaving Flowers in Your Car Overnight:
Consider the conditions that cut flowers are kept in at the florist shop before you buy them. They’re usually stored in a giant cooler, or refrigerator, which is kept at a temperature around 1-2°C (35°F). That’s the ideal to keep your cut flowers in the best condition when leaving them in your car overnight.
If you can’t provide that ideal temperature, you still should avoid the extremes of heat, which will wilt them, or cold, which will freeze them.
Cut flowers should never be kept out of water for an extended period of time. Just a few inches in a vase will keep them from dehydrating.
Type of Flowers
Some flowers will survive better than others in the car overnight, but it depends on the temperature.
For instance, roses will do well in a car with a temperature just above freezing, while heat-loving flowers like zinnias will suffer at that temperature.
Where they Are Located in Vehicle
The trunk may seem like the ideal place to keep flowers, but because it is not heated or cooled, your flowers may quickly suffer from temperature extremes.
Especially when you are driving, the best place for cut flowers is in the back seat or passenger seat, where you can keep an eye on them and control the temperature. Keep them out of the direct sun, however, as that will cause them to overheat and wilt.
It’s also important to keep them away from vents, as direct exposure to hot or cold air will dry them out and cause them to decline in quality.
Can You Leave a Bouquet of Flowers in Your Car Overnight?
You can leave a bouquet of flowers in your car overnight as long as they have water, and the temperature is not too hot or too cold.
Can You Leave Flowers for Your Garden in Your Car Overnight?
Sometimes you may need to keep live plants in your car overnight, and if the weather conditions aren’t too extreme in either direction they should be just fine.
Cool temperatures are better than hot ones, although frost-sensitive annuals like impatiens or petunias could take a hit if things get too cold. However, tough perennials such as roses or phlox can survive a few degrees of frost.
Your real problem is if temperatures are too high, although things usually cool down at night and there’s no sun to cook the interior of your car.
However, it’s always best, if possible, to take your plants out of the car and find a sheltered spot for them elsewhere.
Can You Leave Flowers in a Hot Car?
You can only leave flowers in a hot car for an hour or two at most, as they will quickly deteriorate in those conditions.
If you must leave flowers in a hot car, at least try to park in the shadiest spot possible to prevent the sun from overheating its interior.
Can You Leave Flowers in Your Car During the Winter?
If outdoor temperatures are below freezing, your flowers are not going to last long in your car. Of course, it depends on how cold it is, how long you leave them there, and what types of flowers you have.
If you have no alternative to leaving them in your car for a few hours, you can protect them by placing them in a cardboard box and wrapping it in a blanket to provide some insulation. Don’t seal them up tight, though, as they need some fresh air.
While an insulated cooler may sound like a great way to protect flowers from temperature extremes, if it’s sealed tight they won’t be able to breathe.
How Long Does It Take Flowers to Die if Left in a Car?
Once again, the length of time that flowers can survive when left in a car depends on the temperature more than anything else.
On a hot day with the sun beating down on a parked car with the windows rolled up, flowers will die within an hour or two at most.
On the other hand, in cool weather, flowers like rose can stay in good shape for a few days as long as they have water.
How Can You Keep Flowers Fresh Inside a Car?
The first priority for keeping flowers fresh inside a car is to provide them with water. Cut flowers always need to be kept in water, and you want to cushion them from the stress of being transported as much as possible.
Florists often put water tubes on the ends of individual stems. If that’s the case for your bouquet of cut flowers, definitely leave them on, and if it’s been more than a day you may need to refill them to keep your flowers happy.
If your cut flowers don’t have water tubes, you have a couple of options.
You can wrap the ends in damp paper towels, although that won’t last more than a few hours.
You could also stick the ends in well-soaked oasis foam and wrap them in plastic wrap.
Another option is putting the flowers in a tall container with a few inches of water in the bottom. Put the container in a carboard box, and stuff a towel or crumpled up paper around it to keep it upright.
Place the flowers out of the direct sun and out of the way of vents. The floor in the rear of the vehicle is a good spot.
Alternative Places to Store/Hide Flowers:
If all you need is a place to keep flowers fresh until they’re needed, you have other options that would keep them in better condition.
In almost any weather, an attached garage will probably keep your cut flowers in pretty good shape for a day or two.
Find a dark, cool corner to keep them as fresh as possible.
You can keep your cut flowers in a shed unless the temperatures are too extreme in either direction.
While a shed won’t overheat as fast as a car on a hot day, it can still get pretty warm if the sun is beating down on it.
If possible, open doors and windows to keep air circulating and cool things down a bit.
On the other hand, in freezing temperatures, flowers can quickly get nipped. It’s best to find a spot with better temperature control.
Tucked in a cool closet, your cut flowers can last for a couple of days as long as they’re sitting in water.
If you have room in your refrigerator, it’s the ideal place to keep cut flowers until they’re needed. The temperature will be just what they’re used to in a florist’s cooler.
Keep them in a container filled with water covering at least half the length of their stems.
Cut flowers are a lovely gift for a loved one, co-worker, or hostess, but sometimes you need to find a place to keep them until you’re ready to present them.
You can keep them in your car if it’s not too hot or cold, but if you’re not careful they can get cooked or frozen.
Janice is a retired High School teacher who is spending her leisure years keeping busy with all sorts of projects. Aside from freelance writing, she’s an enthusiastic amateur chef, home wine maker, and tends a large raised-bed vegetable garden, while at the same time running a Bed & Breakfast.