Recipe to Keep Your Cut Flowers Fresh Longer

I’ve always been frustrated with the little teeny packets of flower preserver that you get when you buy cut flowers. Seems you can never buy this mysterious stuff in bulk for use in home-grown bouquets. No idea what it even contains.

So I’ve always wanted to find a home recipe for flower bouquet longevity. I’ve heard of various things, like ASA tablets, and 7up, but never found a recipe with quantities… till now.
This one is from the Chicago Tribune Garden Q+A. (With thanks for the link to @growingyourown on Twitter):

What flowers need to stay fresher longer:
• carbohydrate for nutrition,
• an acidifier to improve water uptake
• a disinfectant to prevent bacteria from growing.

Easy Home Recipe:
• 2 teaspoons sugar
• 2 tablespoons white vinegar and
• 1/2 teaspoon chlorine bleach

Mix all in 1 quart of water.

• Make clean stem cuts with sharp scissors or pruners.
• Always plunge fresh cut flowers immediately into a bucket with warm water. (Not an adorable wicker trug!) Bring bucket out to garden with you.
• Cut off any leaves that will go below water level.

Plus, if you want your bouquet to last, don’t place the vase in direct sunshine.

Happy picking and arranging!


  1. A couple of corrections re treatment of cut flowers:

    1. never, ever use scissors. They just squish the stems and prevent water uptake. Bypass secateurs or a good florist's knife is best. Always cut on the angle. Again, this maximizes water uptake.

    2. Most flowers prefer the water to be room temp. Some flowers – spring bloomers – prefer cold water. Roses like hot. Also, use hot if you're trying to coax open sluggish blooms.

  2. Christmas tree preservative solutions will do the trick as well and for the amount it mixes up into could be considered being "in bulk"

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