A vibrant watercolor painting of a variety of colorful flowers wilting in a sunlit car, emphasizing the heat and confinement with exaggerated drooping petals and steamy windows.

Will Flowers Die if Left in the Car?

Flowers, with their delicate petals and vibrant colors, serve as a popular gift and decoration that spread joy and beauty. However, after purchasing or receiving flowers, you might wonder if it’s safe to leave them in the car, especially if you have other errands to run. Understanding the impact of the car's environment on flowers can help you ensure they stay vibrant and fresh longer.

Temperature Extremes

One of the most critical factors affecting flower longevity is temperature. Cars can quickly become either very hot or very cold, depending on the weather. In both scenarios, leaving flowers in the car can drastically shorten their lifespan.

Heat Exposure

During warm or hot days, the temperature inside a closed car can soar to dangerous levels within just a few minutes. Temperatures can reach upwards of 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius) when external temperatures are between 80-100 degrees Fahrenheit (approximately 27-38 degrees Celsius). Flowers like roses, lilies, and tulips can begin to wilt or suffer petal burn if left in such conditions. The heat essentially cooks the flowers, accelerating their metabolism and leading to premature death.

Cold Exposure

Conversely, in cold climates, the inside of a car can act like a refrigerator, especially overnight. Flowers are also sensitive to freezing temperatures which can cause cellular damage. The cold can freeze the water content within the petals and stems, leading to ice crystal formation that pierces cell walls, and ultimately, the flower's structural integrity. This damage often manifests as discoloration and limpness, making the flowers appear wilted or dead once they thaw.


Being enclosed in a car, especially under warmth, can escalate dehydration of flowers. Even if the temperature is not extreme, the lack of fresh air and increased heat can cause flowers to lose moisture more rapidly. Dehydration leads to dried-out petals and leaves, causing them to drop prematurely.

Disruption to the Flowers' Recovery Time

Typically, flowers need a conducive environment to recover from transportation stress, such as being in a floral shop or your home where they can be immediately put in water. The prolonged stress of being in a non-ideal environment like a car can weaken their overall system, making them less likely to recover even after being properly cared for later.

Tips for Protecting Flowers in a Car

To prevent damage to your flowers when they must stay in your car, consider these tips:

  • Minimize Time: Keep the time flowers spend in the car as short as possible. Plan to purchase or pick up flowers last during your errands to reduce exposure to undesirable conditions.
  • Control Temperature: In colder months, keep the heat on while you're driving or wrap the flowers in insulation. During warm months, use air conditioning or park in shaded areas. Never park under direct sunlight if possible.
  • Hydration: Place stems in a container of water if you expect to leave flowers in the car for more than a few minutes. This can help maintain hydration and reduce stress.

Ultimately, if at all possible, avoid leaving flowers in the car for any extended period. By understanding the fragile nature of flowers and planning accordingly, you can ensure your lovely blooms reach their destination as fresh as when they were picked.

Shop our long-lasting flowers. We grow our own to provide fresh, long-lasting flowers at an affordable price. All floral arrangements are available for same-day delivery in Christchurch.
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