‘Tried and tested’ methods for keeping fresh flowers ‘alive for longer’ – ‘the prime way’

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Spring flowers can instantly breathe new life into any property, but the vibrant petals can quickly fade without the right nutrients. Once the stems are cut, your fresh garden bouquet is already on the way out, making flower food essential to prolong the life of those seasonal blooms. While commercial flower food is a go-to remedy for wilting petals, there are a number of household products that can be used instead.

Florists at Urban Design Flowers have shared their go-to tips for keeping cut flowers thriving for longer.

They said: “Although all flowers will die at some point after they have been picked, we have researched some of the tried and tested methods for keeping fresh cut flowers alive for longer. 

“The key things to consider when preserving the life of your flowers is to give them nutrients to thrive, as well as reducing the growth of bacteria in the vase water.”

Most flower food packets are made of just three simple ingredients and can be easily replicated at home.

Sugar, citric acid and bleach are mixed together to provide a balancing liquid for fresh flowers, with each ingredient serving a different purpose.

Sweet sugar provides the flowers with nutrients, the acid maintains a steady pH level in the water, and bleach reduces lingering bacteria and fungi.

These key ingredients can make blooms last for more than seven days, rather than a measly three days without the right food.

While you could just mix your own flower food replica, the experts have revealed several everyday ingredients that work on their own – and you probably already have them in your home.


While still attached to a plant, the flower benefits from the sugars that the plant’s leaves manufacture through the process of photosynthesis. 

Once the flower is cut from the plant, the number of leaves providing food is greatly limited, as is the amount of light available for food production. 

As a result, the amount of food available to the flower is drastically reduced.

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To make up for this loss, sugar can be added to the water the flower stems are placed into to ensure the continued development of the flower and greater longevity.

The flower experts said: “Adding sugar to the water your flowers are living in can provide them with some of the nutrients they are missing since being cut. 

“It is suggested that mixing a few tablespoons of sugar with two tablespoons of white vinegar in warm water can help to nourish the plant as well as reducing the growth of bacteria in the water.”

Fizzy drinks 

Fizzy drinks such as lemonade is the perfect substitute for the standard citric acid to feed flowers.

If you don’t have lemonade, try other citrus-flavoured sodas to give your blooms a boost.

The experts said: “As sugar is the prime way to help keep cut flowers fresh, fizzy drinks are another great method for feeding your flowers sugar. 

“Try saving a little of your next drink (around a quarter of a cup) and pour it into the vase water. 

“Drinks such as Sprite and 7up are ideal as they are colourless and so won’t discolour the vase water.”

Copper penny

This super cheap hack will cost you just one penny – but make sure you are using copper.

This simple trick is as simple as dropping one copper penny into your full vase to extend the life of the flowers.

The expert explained why this hack works so well.

They said: “Copper acts as an acidifier when mixed into the water which helps to prevent the growth and spread of bacteria and help the flowers survive longer.”


No one wants to waste good vodka, but a few drops mixed with some sugar is another “tried and tested way” to help flowers live longer.

When added to the water in your vase, the high-alcohol content works to inhibit ethylene production.

Ethylene is a ripening gas which aids the maturation process of your plants and slows down the wilting of flowers.

The indoor flower experts explained: “Due to its sterile nature, mixing a little vodka in with the water helps to prevent bacteria building up and killing the plant.”

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