Home Remedies for Cut Flowers

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The beautiful bouquet of flowers that you’ve received for Valentine’s Day or freshly cut roses from the garden isn’t going to last forever. Luckily, there are home remedies for cut flowers that can lengthen the time that the sweet scent and colorful petals will last in your surroundings.

Ways to Lengthen the Life of Flowers

To keep a vase full of flowers as long as possible, there is a bit of maintenance to consider. To lengthen the life of flowers, consider the following approaches:

• Proper harvesting, such as methods of cutting stems
• Provide nourishment
• Keep bacteria and fungus away

Cut Flower Home Remedies

Just because they’re not attached to a plant, doesn’t mean you don’t have to give a little tender loving care to cut flowers and gift bouquets. To enjoy your blooms a little longer, consider the following home remedies for cut flowers:

a) Sugar:

Provide nourishment for freshly cut flowers and bouquets by adding a sugar cube or teaspoon of sugar to the water in a vase. This will help lengthen the life of your flowers.

b) Vodka:

Keep away the growth of bacteria (which considerably cuts down the life of flowers) by adding a few drops of vodka (or another clear liquor) to the vase water to fight bacteria levels. Add a bit of sugar to provide flowers with the nourishment they would have received if they had stayed attached to the plant.

c) An Early Cut:

If you are able to enjoy freshly cut flowers from your own garden, harvest early in the morning before the dew dries on the petals. Immediately transfer them to a bucket of cool water. Flowers actually continue to grow at a slower rate even after being removed from a plant. This is why providing nutrients (such as sugar) will encourage this process.

d) Multivitamin:

Open a multivitamin capsule and add to a vase full of water to keep fresh flowers for longer.

e) Penny:

An old trick is to drop a copper penny into vase water to keep flowers lasting longer. The copper actually acts as a fungicide [1]. Add a cube of sugar to further enhance the results.

f) Change Water:

It is important to change vase water on a regular basis – preferably every day. Misting flowers will also enhance their appearance and longevity.

g) Turkey Baster:

If removing flowers from a vase to change the water is difficult, use a turkey baster to remove the water.


h) Bleach:

Fresh cut flowers will thrive longer when you add ¼ teaspoon of bleach per one liter of vase water. Another solution is to mix three drops of bleach with one teaspoon of sugar per one liter of water as a way to prevent the development of cloudy water. The bleach also helps keep bacteria growth to a minimum.

i) Refrigerator:

After admiring the beauty of your flowers during the day, lengthen their life by placing them in the refrigerator at night. The cooler temperatures make them last longer.

j) Immediate Water Attention:

After cutting flowers in your garden, immediately place in a bucket of water. Choose a plastic pail over a metal bucket because the latter can actually affect the pH level of the water [2].

k) Aspirin:

A long-known home remedy for roses and cut flowers is adding a crushed aspirin to vase water before transferring your blooms.

l) Lemon Juice:

Add two tablespoons of lemon juice per one liter of vase water as a way to control bacterial and fungus growth.

m) Soda:

Adding ¼ cup of soda to a vase full of flowers can make the blossoms last longer – thanks to the sugar content in the soda. Use a clear soda, such as Sprite or 7-Up, when treating flowers in a clear vase.

n) Apple Cider Vinegar:

To make cut flowers last as long as possible, mix two tablespoons each of apple cider vinegar and sugar in the vase water before adding the blooms. Every few days, change the water (with the same amount of vinegar/sugar solution) to lengthen the life of the flowers.

o) Homemade Flower Preservative:

To take advantage of a multitude of flower preserving ingredients, consider making your own solution by adding one teaspoon each of sugar and bleach to one tablespoon of lemon or lime soda (like 7-UP). The bleach acts as a disinfectant, while the sugar provides the flower with a food source. The effervescence of the soda moves the food and disinfectant up the stems faster. When decay does set in, the bleach will help eliminate the scent.

p) Don’t Use Scissors to Cut:

When cutting flowers, do not use your typical pair of household scissors, which can crush the vascular systems of blooms and prevent the proper uptake of water. Instead, use knives, clippers or shears.

q) A 45-Degree Angle Cut:

Stems with a 45-degree angle will better absorb nutrients when under the water in a vase.

r) Take Off the Leaves:

The crisp green color of leaves on a rose stem may add to the visual beauty, but once they go under the water line of a vase, the foliage starts to decay. As a result, gases are let loose that can cause the other flowers to wilt at a quicker rate.

s) Flower Placement:

To lengthen the life of flowers in a vase, position the blooms away from drafts, direct sunlight, and even ripening fruits, which release ethylene gas – a substance that causes buds to stay closed and petals to weaken in color.

t) Hair Spray:

Preserve cut flowers by spritzing on hair spray. Simply stand a foot away from the flowers and spray the undersides of the leaves and petals [3].


[1] http://www.usaflowersonline.com/flowersfresh.php
[2] http://www.bbg.org/gardening/article/cut-flower_care/
[3] Extraordinary Uses for Everyday Things by Reader’s Digest; pg. 182.