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How to Make Your Fresh Flowers Last Longer

Updated on February 27, 2014

Keeping fresh flowers fresh is the goal. As a decorative effect in the home, everyone wants them to look beautiful longer.

The three main problems that decrease the freshness of cut flowers are bacteria, lack of nourishment, and not getting enough water up the stems. Preserving fresh cut flowers is going to be a cinch using these tips.


Flowers are feed by carbohydrates, but the source of their food is gone once they are cut. Sugar gives them energy and their cells can metabolize. When carbohydrates are lower the leaves and petals start to deteriorate. Bacteria feeds off of the plants sap, which has sucrose in it, and this is why adding sugar to the flower's water necessitates adding an acid like bleach. Bacteria and fungi close off the stem's cut end, causing the tube's that move water to get clogged, this make flowers wilt sooner.

Make Flowers Stay Fresh Longer

Alkaline water lessens the cut flower's life. The water's pH needs adjustment with an acidifier like aspirin to help the fresh cut flowers last longer. This aids in water absorption and getting nutrients.

The major ingredients of flower food are carbos, acidifiers, and biocides. Flower enthusiasts can make flower food by putting a source of each ingredient into the vase water.


Flowers Last Longer with an Acidifier


Let aspirin dissolve in ¼ cup of warm water; after stirring, pour this moisture into a vase filled with water. The aspirin makes the water acidic which promotes the flow of water along the stem.

Vinegar and Sugar

Put 2 tablespoons of vinegar and 2 of sugar into the water and arrange flowers in the vase.

Lemon Juice

Pour 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 3 tablesoons of sugar, and ½ teaspoon of bleach to a quart of water.

Biocides Kill Bacteria

Put about 3 drops of bleach in the water. This slows bacteria growth and prevents cloudy water. Fresh cut flowers last longer when bacterial growth is stymied. Add 1 teaspoon of sugar or an sugar cube.

Keep Fresh Flowers Longer Using Vodka, Gin, Tequila, or White Rum

Pour about 3 drops of any of these clear alcoholic beverages to the water and add a teaspoon of sugar. The alcohol kills bacteria.

Soda Pop

The sugar in soda drink increase the life of fresh flowers. The ratio is 1/3 of the soda to 2/3 of water. Diet soda won't feed the flowers, don't use it.

Fresh Flower Care

Cut Flowers at the Right Time

The early morning hours or late in the afternoon because it is cooler. Also, the plant has food reserved during the morning. When one of the pedals opens is a good time to cut the flower. Some flowers like roses and daffidels should be cut when they are budding. Don't cut when the bud is really tight. Others should be cut when open like marigolds and delphiniums.

Diagonal Cut

A diagonal cut of the flower stem aids in water absorption as more of the stem's end touches the water. Frequent cutting of the stems keeps them from sealing up and stopping water flow. The knife should be sharp and clean. Cutting them under water makes them draw in water, not air. If an air bubble is trapped at the stem end it stops water from going up the stem.

Cold Water

Put flowers in cold water because warm water causes dehydration. But wilted flowers can be revived sometimes with warm water, which they absorb quickly.

Woody Stems

Woody stemmed flowers like lilac and quince require pruning shears to cut them easily.

Remove Leaves

Pick off leaves under water level to help prevent bacterial growth. Remove dying flowers.

Change Water

Clean water every day aids in maintaining a low bacteria environment.

Room Temperate

Don't put flowers close to any heat producing appliances; they may make the flowers dehydrate.


Place fresh flowers away from fresh fruit and plants. Ethylne is a gas that the fruit releases that causes flowers to wilt sooner.


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    • Deltachord profile image

      Deltachord 4 years ago from United States

      I hadn't heard of some of the ideas either until I researched the subject. I knew of some because my mother was a florist. Thanks for your interest.

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 4 years ago

      Hi Deltachord, Wow, what neat ideas on preserving Flowers. I have to admit some I've heard of, but a lot I had not. I will definitely Bookmark your Hub for Future use.

      I now look forward to Following your Hubs.

    • Deltachord profile image

      Deltachord 4 years ago from United States

      I'm glad the information will be useful for you, Dolores.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 4 years ago from East Coast, United States

      I love cut flowers and often buy them in the winter, so it's great to know how to extend their life and save money.

    • Deltachord profile image

      Deltachord 4 years ago from United States

      Thank you so much breathing for voting my article up and for your kind compliment. I have a lot of flowers in my yard. So beautiful.

    • breathing profile image

      Sajib 4 years ago from Bangladesh

      I just love flower. Keep them fresh in vast is a challenge. You have given some idea. I think those idea are effective. This hub is helpful for flowers loving people like me. Thanks a lot for sharing this kind of informative article with us. Voted up…thank you again.

    • Deltachord profile image

      Deltachord 4 years ago from United States

      You're welcome, billybuc.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Every once in awhile a hub comes along that is so very useful. This was it for me today. Thank you for some information I can use all summer long.