Most people have some opinion on what you need to do to keep flowers at peak freshness,
but flower novices may have some trouble distinguishing the myths from the real methods. Here’s a look at some of the options users can count on, and which you can skip.
A method thought to lower the pH of the water, adding a pill or two to your vase may help lower naturally occurring acids that make plants wilt after just a few days. Unfortunately, there’s no substantial evidence that this offers any significant life extensions.
Bleach is thought to help prevent mold from growing in the vase. To try this method, add a capful to water and add flowers. While this approach does keep flowers looking great, the bleach causes the stems to go white, which may detract from the desired effect of the bouquet. Assuming you’d like your flowers to last about a week, when day seven rolls around, the petals themselves may start to look washed out, too.
According to Scientific American, vodka may have a preservative effect on flowers, by inhibiting the plants’ ethylene production, which causes flowers to mature and eventually wilt. Plants can only tolerate a small amount of alcohol, so use sparingly if you decide to give this method a try.
Slightly acidic water is thought to help keep flowers fresh longer than plain water, it helps stems bring more water up toward the petals and also acts as an antibacterial. For best results, adding a little sugar along with the vinegar gives the plants the food they need to keep thriving after being cut, while the vinegar staves off the bacteria growth that comes along with the addition of the sugar.
Flowers are natural sweet tooths and rely on sugar for food. The idea of using a soft drink is to keep the nutrients flowing up toward the petals, keeping them well-fed so they’ll stay healthy and vibrant. Mix one part soda and two parts water in your vase of choice to give this a try. Experts recommend using citrus-flavored soda like Sprite or 7Up, as they contain acid, which helps stems slurp up water.
The reason flower food tends to work better than the myriad home remedies is that it contains the best of all methods. Your generic flower food offers a blend of biocide (to kill the bacteria in the vase), sugars to provide nutrients to the petals, and an acidic element, which helps the stems drink the water.
Overall, if you’re looking to keep your flowers fresh for as long as possible, the best solution, aside from investing in some potted plants, is the packets of flower food you’ll get from your local florist. If you want to get creative, you could potentially mix and match the various home remedies and get similar results, but you’ll likely end up with a number wilted bouquets before you find the right combination.