Freshly cut flowers are a delight to receive as a gift or to liven up a home or office space. Flowers are invariably perishable, but there are a few tricks for making them last their longest. Florists often include life-extending powder with their deliveries, but some ingredients found around the house, including aspirin, vodka and sugary soft drinks, also can extend the life of fresh-cut flowers.
In many cases, floral bouquets sent from a florist will come with a special flower powder life extender packet to make flowers last longer. This packet contains a specially formulated powder that nourishes the flowers and keeps bacteria from forming. The contents of the packet should be poured into the vase, fresh tap water can be added and then the flowers can be placed into the vase. Each day, replace half of the water in the vase to keep oxygen levels up and the flowers should last a week or longer.
Another way to keep fresh flowers looking their best is to add a tablet of aspirin to the water in the vase. This is essentially what florists use in their life-extender packets. If you happen to receive flowers without a packet, you can substitute a tablet of aspirin to make flowers last longer and keep their color for at week or more. It’s also important to snip a little bit off the ends of the stems of the flowers at a slight angle to give them a clean path by which water will travel up the shaft to the flower itself.
Some people swear by adding a couple capfuls of cheap vodka, Sprite® or 7-up® soda to the water in a vase when dealing with brightly colored flowers such as roses and carnations. The sugar in the soda serves to add some nourishment to the water and the vodka helps with sterilizing the water, which cuts down on bacteria growth. This should also bring out the fragrance in the flowers in addition to helping to make flowers last longer.
An additional tip to make flowers last longer is to make sure that all leaves stay out of the water. Leaves on the stems can actually promote scum and bacteria which forms on the surface of the plant stems and water and cuts down on fresh oxygen from reaching flower petals at the top. Be sure to trim stems and leaves so that they don’t contaminate the water which will give fresh flowers a longer lifespan.