Keep Cut Flowers Fresh with Simple Household Ingredients

Flowers are one of the absolutely classic gifts—an ideal way to wish someone a happy birthday, congratulate them on an achievement, or just to let them know you're thinking of them. If you've received some flowers yourself, you'll want them to last as long as possible so you can enjoy their beautiful blooms.

Putting fresh cut flowers in a vase with some water will make sure they don't dry out and die quickly, but it won't maximise their lifespan. To do that, you'll need to give them some sort of food, because just like growing plants, cut flowers need nutrients to keep going.

Often, you'll find that flowers will come with some flower food, but if they don't or if you run out and want to keep feeding them, you can use some household ingredients to make your own. Remember to change the water and food every four days if your flowers are still going strong.



Ordinary sugar, nothing special, is what you need to give flowers a bit of food and boost their longevity. Whatever you have in the house will do, whether it's plain white, brown, or powdered sugar. About a teaspoon mixed thoroughly into a vase of lukewarm water will do the trick.


Adding an acidic substance lowers the pH level of the water, making it more suitable for your flowers to thrive. It also helps to limit bacterial and fungal growth. Suitable substances include lemon juice, lime juice, and vinegar of any kind—white, malt, cider, etc. Just stir a teaspoon into the water, and your flowers will thank you.


You might be concerned about adding bleach to your flowers, thinking it will harm them, but as long as you're careful, it can be helpful. Just a few drops—three or four—is enough to combat bacteria and fungi, keeping the water clean and the flowers fresh for longer. Just make sure you use plain household bleach, not a cleaning product with other ingredients.


If you're missing some or all of these ingredients, there are a couple of alternative options. Instead of using separate sugar and acid, you can use something that already contains both—namely citrus fizzy drinks like lemonade. Don't use the diet versions, as they'll lack sugar.

Another way to limit bacterial growth if you don't have bleach is to add a high-strength, plain spirit like vodka to the water. You don't need much—about half a teaspoon should do it.

For additional information and advice, contact a local florist.