How Long Can Flowers Go Without Water?

Every gardener knows how important it is to water their flowers and plants. Sometimes, life gets in the way, and before you know it, your roses are wilting, and your tomato plants are looking particularly crispy.

So how long can flowers go without water? Typically, a fully grown flower or plant can go as long as a week before they start to show signs of dehydration. Cut flowers are a different story. They will not survive any longer than five days without a drink. 

Just consider that these timeframes depend on numerous factors. The type and variety of flowers, the conditions that they are being kept, and how much you watered them before.

So do be mindful and consider those.

Nevertheless, watering your flowers is one of those important things, as a garden enthusiast, you will have to do to keep them alive. 

So this guide will give you all the tips and tricks you will need to keep your blooms hydrated. 

From flowers that do not need as much watering to tips on how you can water your flowers while you are away.

We have got you covered.

What Happens To A Flower Without Water?

Put simply; they will die. If your flowers are without water for a significant time, they can be pushed beyond the brink of no return. 

A lot of the time, we can notice signs of flower dehydration before it has gone too far.

Water, along with sunlight and carbon dioxide, is an important element in a flower’s photosynthesis process. 

This process is how a plant creates its energy. 

Much like the way we nourish ourselves with food and water to create energy for our bodies to function correctly, a flower cannot survive without all three of these elements.

So without water, your flowers are starving, and like us humans, there is only so long before they can go without an energy source.

The first signs of lack of water with flowers are:

  • Wilting of the leaves and flowers
  • Dry soil
  • Dry or dead leaf tips
  • Plant growth has slowed

Noticing these signs as early as possible is important to have a chance at bringing your beautiful blooms back to life.

Do I Need To Put Flowers In Water Immediately?

You do not have to put cut flowers into water immediately. However, when it comes to fresh-cut flowers, your window before they cannot survive any longer without water is a lot shorter. 

Typically fresh-cut flowers can last up to 5 days without water as long as their stems are wrapped in a wet cloth or wet kitchen paper. 

Shop-bought flowers may not last as long as this, even if you wrap their stems.

Other factors can alter a flower’s staying power when there is no water, such as the flower type, how recently they have been cut, and even the humidity in the air.

The best thing you can do is pop them in a vase of water as soon as possible. 

If you can not do this, you can cut the stems of your flowers underneath a running stream of water

Stopping air bubbles from forming on the stems of your flowers and can help them from drying out as fast.

The heat of your home will also affect how long your flowers can survive without water. Heat makes flowers droop and dry out very fast. 

Cooler temperatures will help sustain your freshly cut flowers for much longer. 

How Often Should Flowers Be Watered?

A typical rule that many gardeners follow is that flowers should have about 1 inch of water every 7 to 10 days. This can vary depending on the type of flower and the air humidity and temperature. This rule only applies to growing seasons. When your flowers are in their dormant period, they require far less water.

Here’s a neat trick if you have a sprinkler system. 

Leave a canister or bucket out when you switch on your sprinklers.

Once the container/bucket reaches 1 inch of filled water, you will know how long to leave them on when it comes to watering your flowers.

Perhaps use a timer. That’s useful too.

If you don’t have a sprinkler system, you can work out how much water your garden flowers may need by using this equation.

Length of your garden in inches x width of your garden in inches

This simple equation will give you the answer to how much water your garden may need every single week. 

If there is only a smaller bed you are watering, you can use this same equation but just use the measurements for the area rather than your entire garden.

It’s important to know that during dry, warmer weather, your flowers may need more water than usual. 

Keeping an eye on the dryness of the soil is the best way to decide when they need more water.

If your soil is very dry, crumbly, and dusty, your flowers may need some more water, especially if they are starting to wilt.

What Flowers Last Longest Without Water?

Depending on whether you are looking for flowers in your garden that require less watering or freshly cut flowers for your home that can survive a dry spell. There are a few options that can reduce the amount of water you will need to keep your blooms looking vibrant and fresh.

Some popular flowers to grow in your garden that requires less watering and is more drought-resistant are:

  • Succulents
  • Coneflower
  • Catmint
  • Agastache
  • Lantana
  • Salvia
  • Lavender
  • Russian Sage
  • California poppy

These hardy plants, although happy to survive in drought-like conditions for a while, don’t skimp on beauty. 

The bright colors of the lavender, California poppy, and coneflowers mean even the lax gardeners can have a garden that’s not only bright and beautiful but can smell divine and attract a real assortment of nature’s birds and beasties.

Some herbs, such as Thyme, Rosemary, Oregano, Sage, and Lemon Verbena, are also excellent drought-tolerant plants that provide dainty blooms and fabulous smells for your garden during the summer.

As for freshly cut flowers, there are no magic flowers that will last for four weeks out of water but if you need them to last a few hours before wilting, these flowers are a great choice:

  • Succulents
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Lilies. Orchids
  • Thistles
  • Anthurium
  • Standard and spray roses
  • Lisianthus

When it comes to your freshly cut flowers, aiming to have them in a vase of fresh water within a day of buying them is the best idea. 

The more stress you put on freshly cut flowers, the faster they will die, and the less time you will have to enjoy their beauty.

What Can I Do To Keep My Flowers Watered If I Am Away?

So you need to spend some time away and suddenly realize that you have no plan in place for your flower garden. You need to make provisions, or otherwise, your flowers might not make it.

Well, don’t fear we have four tried and true gardeners tips to help keep your flowers blooming lovely while you enjoy a well-deserved breakaway.

De-Weed and Deadhead

Conserving your flower’s energy will be the most important step when you are planning to be away for over a week. 

Making sure your flowers are free from surrounding weeds, deadheading any spent flower heads, and cutting back any perennials that have completed their flowering cycle will help conserve energy. 

It also means that your flowers that are still blooming won’t have to fight with as many other plants for whatever water may still be in the soil.

Move Containers And Baskets Into The Shade

To avoid as much evaporation from happening is the goal here.

Any flowers that can be moved to partially or, preferably, fully shaded spots should be moved.

The heat of the sun will dry out the soil in containers far quicker than flower beds in your garden.

You can slow down this process by moving them into the cooler, shadier parts of your garden.

Use A Sprinkler System With A Timer

Sprinklers with timers are a gardener’s lifesaver.

All you have to do is log in at what times of the day you want them to go off and for how long, and then voila!

You have a perfectly watered garden even if you can be there.

However, they aren’t cheap, and not everyone can afford a sprinkler system, or perhaps their garden isn’t all that big, and it may seem pointless to buy one of these systems for a tiny garden.

Our next tip is for you.

The Drinks Bottle Trick

For smaller beds and containers, you can provide water for your flowers with just a fizzy drinks bottle.

All you need to do is fill up a drinks bottle with water – the size of the bottle is entirely up to you, but it needs to be able to stand upright – flip it over and shove the neck of the bottle into the soil. 

WARNING – make sure the bottle cap has been removed before your plunge your water bottle into your soil.

If you don’t do this, all you’ve done is tease your beautiful flowers with a bottle of water they can’t avail of.

The water in your upturned bottle will slowly release its contents into the surrounding soil, providing your flowers with a much-needed drink on tap.


Although all flowers need water, as you can see, there are a few things you can do when it comes to flower choice, watering methods, and a little pre-planning for when you are away to keep your flower happy and healthy and your garden beautiful to look at all summer.

Other guides you may want to check out: