You’ve probably heard a few anecdotal tips for keeping cut flowers looking beautiful, but could a weird trick like adding a penny or an aspirin to the vase really work? There are a few proven ideas for keeping homegrown and store-bought bouquets looking great.
When a plant is cut, the stem absorbs air. This embolism or air pocket prevents water from being absorbed. That’s why it’s so important to cut the stems before arranging the bouquet. Remove at least one inch, and cut on an angle to increase the surface area and to prevent the bottom from resting directly against the vase. Changing the water and recutting the stems every few days will also help your bouquets last longer.
Sometimes, the packet of flower food doesn’t last as long as the bouquet, especially if you change the water several times. However, you can make your own. University researchers recommend adding a tablespoon or two of sugar and lemon juice or a dash of citric acid per quart of water to provide nutrients and to lower the pH so that more water is absorbed. Then, add a few drops of bleach to inhibit microbes. Vinegar is a good substitute for lemon juice, but the odor is offensive. You could also add a bit of non-diet soda or a small amount of vodka.
Tips for Preserving Fresh Roses
Roses are notoriously difficult to keep fresh. They look nice one day, and their heads droop the next. However, aspirin can really help. Several studies have investigated pre- and post-harvest applications of salicylic acid.
Vase life was up to six times longer than the control group. One regular aspirin tablet per quart of water is enough. Trim the stems frequently. Work quickly to reduce the amount of time that the cut portion is exposed to the air. The variety and freshness will also determine how long the bouquet will last.
Other Ways to Keep Floral Arrangements Looking Great
• Tulips and daffodils are short-lived, and they don’t benefit from the sugar solution.
• Daffodils, including paperwhites, jonquils and the entire narcissus genus, shouldn’t be added to mixed-flower bouquets since they release a toxin.
• Add a penny to the vase. This weird trick works because copper has excellent antimicrobial properties. Just make sure that the penny was made before 1982 because modern pennies are made from zinc.
• Keep flower arrangements away from direct sunlight. Moving the bouquet into a cool place at night will help it last longer.
• A light misting of clear floral spray or hairspray preserves the color and form of blooms and decorative foliage.
• Hydrangea blossoms are gorgeous, but they are sensitive and will wilt in minutes without the right care. Don’t expose the cut stems to air. Before arranging the bouquet, dip the stems in hot water for 30 seconds. Then, transfer them to the vase.
• Don’t use softened water because it contains salts that are harmful to plants. Distilled water and non-fluoridated tap water are good choices.