Art & Culture

Making Your Flowers Last Longer

Claire Miles
May 11, 2021

Receiving flowers is an experience that never gets old. But unfortunately, we can’t say the same thing about the plants. After a few days in a vase, flowers usually start to look a little droopy. To make them last longer than normal, you’ll need something called flower food. If you have never heard of flower food, we’ll explain. This is a mixture of citric acid, sugar and bleach that helps flowers stay fresh longer. Each one of these ingredients has specific properties that can help preserve flowers past their regular lifespan with plain water.

First, the citric acid lowers the water’s pH, which makes it more habitable for freshly cut flowers. Then, the sugar helps the flowers with photosynthesis, since once they’re cut they stop producing the sugar needed for this process. This ingredient keeps the flowers perky by tricking them into believing they are still consuming sugar. Finally, the bleach disinfects the water, getting rid of potentially harmful bacteria that could deter the flower’s longevity.

Flower arrangement on top of a wooden table

Getty Images / Moment / Jena Ardell

Flower food is very easy to make. Next time you buy or receive a bouquet of flowers, this is what you should do: First, pour a quart of lukewarm water into your vase. Then, mix one teaspoon of sugar and another of bleach, plus two teaspoons of lemon or lime juice. Once this mixture looks clear and the sugar has dissolved in the bleach and juice, pour it into your vase. This mixture will be the food your flowers need to survive even longer.