If you’ve just been given a bouquet of flowers as a gift, you’ll most likely want to keep them for as long as possible. A bouquet of flowers can liven up your day, and add a stunning focal piece to any room of your home. It’s always disappointing when they lose colour, fragrance, and start to bruise.

So, how can you keep them fresh for as long as possible? By following a few simple rules, you can ensure that your fresh flowers stay looking great and fragrant for longer.

Add some natural preservatives

You don’t need to buy special formulas to keep your flowers alive. Simply add a couple of household items to the water, most of which you’ll probably already have in the cupboard.

  • Add warm water to your vase.
  • Add two tablespoons of sugar to the water and mix well. The sugar helps to nourish the flowers and encourages the blooms to open up.
  • Add two tablespoons of white vinegar. This is to help to reduce the growth of bacteria to keep your flowers fresher for longer.

Use soda

If you don’t happen to have any sugar to add to your vase, another alternative is to use soda. Adding a quarter of a cup of soda to the water in the vase adds the sugars needed to help your flowers thrive. If using a clear vase you’ll want the water in the vase to stay clear, so use a soda such as 7Up or Sprite, instead of darker products like Coke.

Keep the flowers in style

Hairspray is great for keeping your hairstyle in place, but it’s also a handy to have in hand when you want to keep your flowers intact for longer. Stand away from the bouquet and spray the undersides of the leaves and petals with hairspray; this will help to preserve the flowers for a little longer than usual. Hang the flowers upside down to dry before placing them back into your vase.

Vodka and sugar

One way to help stop the growth of bacteria in flower water is to add some vodka. Adding a few drops of vodka (or any other clear spirit), along with a teaspoon of sugar, will support the antibacterial properties needed to increase the longevity of your flowers. When you change the water each day, replenish the sugar and vodka at the same time.

Remove leaves

When arranging a beautiful bunch of flowers, a lot of florists will keep the leaves intact to add some bulk to the bouquet. Although these are a nice addition, they don’t help with keeping your flowers fresher for longer. Remove all leaves from the lower half of the stems, so that there are no leaves touching the water in the vase.

Cut the stems

When the florist cuts the flowers to add to the bunch, the ends of the stems become dry, which makes it harder for the flowers to soak up any nutrients from the water. Air plugs the water-conducting cells, making it difficult for cut flowers to drink up vitamins and nutrients. Cut one to two inches off the ends of the stems in the water on an angle, to help the stems absorb water more easily. Do this each day, or every time you replace the water in your vase. If possible avoid using scissors, as scissors can squish the stems too much. Instead, use a sharp knife.

Harden the flowers

By using warm water you can harden your flowers, which in turn speeds up their water intake through the stems. This is an easy process which requires you to place the flowers in water at a temperature of around 43.5 degrees celsius. Leave the flowers in this water for an hour or two in a cool area of the home.

Use a clean vase

It may sound obvious, but many people forget to use a clean vase. Ensure it’s clean by using a mixture of baking soda and white vinegar to clean the vase of any bacteria. Vases that are used regularly can accumulate microorganisms that can kill your flowers and prevent them from living for very long. Ensure the vase is clean by scrubbing it with a cloth before adding your new flowers.

Keep flowers away from electronics

Appliances such as televisions and refrigerators give off heat whilst they are in use. If flowers are placed near these electronics, they can often feel this heat and become dehydrated. Instead, place your vase of flowers in a cool area of the home where they can receive plenty of light. Check that they have sufficient water each day, and help them along by misting the petals with extra water daily.

Keep your roses for longer

Roses are a beautiful gift, and if you receive them you want to be reminded for as long as possible of the person who gave them to you, and what the gift has represented. An old age remedy to keeping roses for longer is the use of aspirin. Crushing a tablet of aspirin into the water before placing your flowers in the vase has been known to help roses stay alive for longer. The vase water needs to be changed every few days, with a new aspirin tablet added each time.

If you have some beautiful roses in your garden that you hope to cut and bring indoors to display, be sure to water them thoroughly. The night before cutting them from the garden, ensure you water the roses well. The plants will take a big drink of this water and nutrients, making them “fuller” when they are cut. Cut them as early as possible during the day, especially during the hotter seasons, as this is when they’ll be freshest.

If you are purchasing roses, there is a nice little trick you can do before purchasing them to check whether the flowers are fresh. Gently squeeze the rose where the petals meet the top of the stem. If this spot feels firm, this means the roses are very fresh. If they’re soft and squishy, they’re old and you should avoid them.