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In the Garden

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DIY: Fresh Cut Flower Preservative

by Ariel Tilson

Tags: Tips, DIY, Preservatives, Fresh Cut Flowers,

A.TilsonIf I had a greener thumb or more dispensable income I would fill my house with fresh cut flowers everyday. Instead I only buy cut flowers on special occasions and struggle to keep them alive for as long as possible until finally surrendering to their wilted petals and hanging them up to dry. The bouquets I get are usually from the local co-op or farmers market and don’t normally come with commercial preservatives like store-bought flowers. But a couple of days ago I found an interesting solution. 

After dining with my aunt, she gave me an arrangement of some of the beautiful, golden mums that I’d been admiring in her yard and told me to add a little bit of hydrogen peroxide and sugar to their water. I must have looked confused because she quickly explained that the hydrogen peroxide helps to kill bacteria and the sugar gives nutrients. Luckily, I had both hydrogen peroxide and sugar at home, so I quickly added it to the mums’ water and to another bouquet of flowers from a few days earlier.

Yellow Mum
Photo by gregw/Courtesy Flickr

For now the wilting of my older flowers seems to have stalled and the mums still look bright and fresh, but I’m going to wait a couple more days before I give this method my full approval. Actually, homemade floral preservatives are relatively respected according to The University of New Hampshire’s Cooperative Extension. In fact, they recommend using the soft drink Sprite diluted with equal parts water or combining 4 teaspoons of cane sugar with 2 tablespoons of white distilled vinegar.

farmers market
Photo by Compton & Wright/Courtesy Flickr

Whether you make your own natural preservatives, buy them at the store or go preservative-free, experts at The University of Minnesota and The University of New Hampshire Extensions agree that you have to change the water and trim the stems daily if you want your fresh cut flowers to last a while. Once again proving that there are no true shortcuts to success in life or in gardening – it just takes time and labor. 

Have you made your own floral preservatives before? What method worked best? Leave me a comment and let me know.