How do you keep your flowers fresh? We have all heard the myths and wives tales as well as mom's resolute instructions: a little bleach,  a splash of vodka, a touch of vinegar. Add some sugar or 7-UP, aspirin, vitamin C, Listerine, and pennies, too. What works, what doesn’t, will it make a difference and will it harm my flowers?

Many home remedies have a thread of truth as their basis. Antibacterial agents like bleach, vinegar, vodka, hydrogen peroxide and Listerine all kill bacteria which are enemies to fresh flowers . They work to keep the water clear and clean to allow the flowers to drink and rehydrate fully without clogging from bacteria. Sugar, 7-UP and Listerine have sugars that “feed” the flower as it drinks the water mixture. Lemon juice, vitamin C and aspirin are wetting agents (acidifiers). They lower the ph of the water so the flower will drink more rapidly.

Copper is an antibacterial agent, and when pennies were made of real copper, which they aren't anymore, they would release enough copper into the vase water to have an effect. Modern pennies, will have no effect other than making your vase of flowers a few cents more valuable.

While home remedies can work, they also can harm your flowers if applied improperly.



That is where professional flower food comes in. No conjecture and no concerns. With proper treatment, most flowers can easily last a week or more.

Flower foods include an antibacterial, a sugar and a wetting agent. All three together in the proper proportion and ready to mix with water. Follow the recipe on the container, and you can extend the life of your flowers by days. Some varieties react so favorably to proper flower food that they will live twice as long as they would with pure water.

With the use of professional flower food, roses will bloom more fully. Gerberas will stand tall without the dreaded “bent neck.” Carnations will last for weeks, and peonies will bloom full and lush.