Flowers are a common gift for any of life’s special occasions and even the moments in between. A bouquet of bright blooms can bring cheer to any space and leave a lasting impression, even after they’re gone. Whether you’ve received an anniversary arrangement, a graduation bouquet or picked out a gorgeous bunch for the coffee table, you’ll want to enjoy them for as long as possible.
The sad truth is that fresh cut flowers don’t last forever. On the bright side, there are guidelines and little known tips you can use to ensure the longevity of your flowers. We are uncovering everything you need to know about how to make flowers last longer and even putting a few theories to the test.
Just as it preserves your hairstyle, a spritz of hair spray can help your cut flowers look fresh longer. Stand a foot away from the bouquet and give them a quick spray, just on the undersides of the leaves and petals.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Everyone likes to keep cut flowers around as long as possible, and there are several good methods. One way is to mix 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar and 2 tablespoons sugar with the vase water before adding the flowers. Be sure to change the water (with more vinegar and sugar, of course) every few days to enhance your flowers’ longevity.
The secret to keeping cut flowers looking good as long as possible is to minimize the growth of bacteria in the water and to provide nourishment to replace what the flower would have gotten had it not been cut. Add a few drops of vodka (or any clear spirit) to the vase water for antibacterial action along with 1 teaspoon sugar. Change the water every other day, refreshing the vodka and sugar each time.
It’s a tried-and-true way to keep roses and other cut flowers fresh longer: Put a crushed aspirin in the water before adding your flowers. Also, don’t forget to change the vase water every few days.
Freshly cut flowers will last longer if you add 1/4 teaspoon bleach per quart (1 liter) of vase water. Another popular recipe calls for 3 drops bleach and 1 teaspoon sugar in 1 quart (1 liter) water. This will also keep the water from getting cloudy and inhibit the growth of bacteria.
Your posies and other cut flowers will last longer if you add a copper penny and a cube of sugar to the vase water. The copper in pennies is thought to act like an acidifier, which prevents the growth of bacteria.
Make your own preservative to keep cut flowers fresh longer. Dissolve 3 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons white vinegar per quart (liter) of warm water. When you fill the vase, make sure the cut stems are covered by 3-4 inches (7-10 centimeters) of the prepared water. The sugar nourishes the plants, while the vinegar inhibits bacterial growth. You’ll be surprised how long the arrangement stays fresh.
The first step to making your flowers stay fresh longer is by following a few flower care guidelines. Use the tips below to to extend the life of your blooms from the start.
Cut the Stems One of the most common mistakes people make after receiving flowers is forgetting to cut the stems. Use garden shears to trim one to two inches off and cut at an angle.
Cutting the stems at an angle allows for better water intake since they aren’t sitting flat on the bottom of a vase. After the initial cut, be sure to re-trim your bouquet once every few days.
Remove any leaves below the water line. It will not only make your bouquet look better, but also prevent bacterial growth.
Some flowers, like roses, have guard petals which are the two or three outermost petals of the flower. Removing these will allow your flower to open up fully. After your initial pruning, you should check your flowers daily for dead or loose leaves and petals in order to avoid bacterial rot.