Flower Care

Receiving flowers leaves you with a warm and fuzzy feeling you want to hold onto for as long as possible. The longer your flowers last, the longer you will be reminded of how much you are loved and appreciated.

Household remedies

To make cut flowers last a long time, there are a number of tried and tested tricks to use.

Among the best are:

Aspirin: The theory is that aspirin increases the acidity of the water, helping it to move up the stem. Crush two tablets of ‘real’ aspirin such as Bayer’s and add to the water. Add another to fresh water after a few days.

Soda: Pour ¼ cup of soda water into a vase full of water. It is believed that the sugar in the soda will make the blossoms last longer.

Hairspray: A spritz of hairspray can help your flowers look fresher for longer by holding the flower firm and preventing quick wilting. Apply by spraying to the undersides of the leaves and petals.

Apple cider vinegar: Mix two tablespoons apple cider vinegar and two tablespoons of sugar to your vase water before adding your flowers. Change this solution every two to three days. The vinegar helps to ‘heal’ the wounds of the cut end, allowing the xylem to continue taking up water. It also maintains the colour of the petals and helps prevent bacterial growth.

Vodka: Russia’s favourite drink is said to minimise the growth of bacteria and provide nourishment the flower would have gotten had it not been cut. Add a few drops of vodka, along with one teaspoon of sugar to your vase water and change every other day.

Bleach: Like vodka, bleach is said to reduce the buildup of bacteria when applied to vase water. Try adding a couple of drops and change the water every couple of days. Be careful not to add too much, or you risk killing your flowers.

Coins: A copper coin can act as an acidifier, preventing the growth of algae. When placed in the water, the coin will begin to turn blue green, which tells you it is oxidising the water.

Sugar: To duplicate the sugar rush that occurs with photosynthesis, sugar can be added to fresh water every day. One teaspoon of sugar should do the trick.

By themselves, these additives can help boost the life of your flowers but for the best results, try a flower preservative recipe similar to the flower food you may have received.

What is flower food?

You may have received a packet of flower food that is designed to nourish your blooms, acidify the water and act as a biocide to kill bacteria. Flower foods contain three main ingredients - sugars to sustain life, pH balances to boost flower metabolism and abscisic acid removers that allow the stem to take in nourishment.

To replicate flower food, try combining several of the above ingredients.

As well as adding this solution to your water, there are a number of things you can do to prolong the life of your cut flowers that don’t involve mixing different preservatives and acids. From the moment you receive your flowers, follow these tips to ensure vibrant, full and long-lasting blooms:

Make the cut

It’s imperative that the utensils you use for cutting are sharp and clean and appropriate for cutting flowers. Ordinary paper scissors will crush your flowers vascular system, preventing proper water uptake.

Cut the stems at an angle to increase the surface area for water. This will also prevent the stems from sitting flat on the bottom of your vase.

Have your vase water ready to go so that as soon as you cut, you can place your flowers in the water. The sooner the cut sees water, the better the absorption rate. For best results, use warm water unless submerging bulb flowers.

Remove any foliage that is lower than the water level. Leaves submerged in water will encourage bacterial growth.

Recut stems every couple of days or as soon as you see a stem start to go limp.

The conditions

Flowers should not be placed near ripening fruit, as the chemicals being released (such as ethylene) can effectively ‘ripen’ your flowers.

Keep flowers in a cool location and out of direct sun. Avoid placing flowers near an air conditioner, fan or in high air circulation areas.