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Keeping cut flowers fresh:

What would life be without fresh cut flowers?  I can’t imagine.  NO FLOWERS perish the thought. No flower feast for my eyes.  No flower perfume for my nose to enjoy.  No flower bouquets in my house.  OH NO, I can’t go on it is way to depressing.  Almost as bad as no flowers are wilted flowers.  Especially when you spent a lot of your hard earned money on them; brought them home, put them in a beautiful vase and woke up the next day to a vase of wilted flowers.  Soooo sad!!!  

When you woke up to the wilted flowers did you think, oh no, I forgot to add that magic little packet of white powder that came with the flowers?  Maybe you bought the flowers from the florist and didn’t get that packet.  Or maybe there was no packet.  Maybe you added that packet but they wilted anyway!  Never again, have a beautiful bouquet of flowers wilt after only one day.  I am going to share my SIS (simple is smart) recipe for keeping cut flowers fresh fresh and beautiful for days after they are cut.


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yellow peony
yellow lillies

Did you ever wonder what is actually in that little magic powder packet?  Mystery revealed: that, magic powder contains three substances, sugar, citric acid and -believe it or not- bleach.

Here is a little flower science. Flowers from the florist or grocery store floral section are cut and shipped from the growers while still in the bud stage. The plants use photosynthesis to produce the sugar (food) that the buds need to open. Flower stems harvested in the bud stage can deplete their food stores before fully opened. Adding the magic powder to the water gives the flowers extra food, aiding bud opening. Flowers picked fully opened don’t need the extra food.

What about the other ingredients in the “flower fresh” packet? Citric acid and bleach. The citric acid lowers the pH of the water. Why is this important? According to the University of Massachusetts agriculture center, citric acid lowers the water’s pH level, which allows water to travel faster, reducing wilting. Lemon juice, lime juice, or white vinegar will all work just as well.

Bleach portion of the preservative inhibits bacterial growth. The bacteria will clog up the capillaries of the stems preventing uptake of water by the flower.

There you have it, your science lesson for the day.  Now let’s mix up a batch of magic water for keeping cut flowers fresh.

blue hydrangia
peony bouquet
homemade floral preservative ingredients
white vinegar, water, sugar, bleach

Make your own “Magic Powder”

SIS (Simpe is Smart) Rx For Magic water 

1 quart of water

2 Tablespoons of sugar

1 teaspoon of either lemon juice, lime juice, or white vinegar

1/4 teaspoon of bleach

Add all ingredients together and stir to mix. Once mixed, add to a clean vase.  Arrange the cut flowers in the vase.

trimming a hydrangia stem
trimming a hydrangia stem
image 2
hydrangia in a vase
image 3

Additional tips for longer lasting cut fresh flower.

1. If you are cutting flowers from your garden, you should cut them in the morning after they have had the cool, moist night air to rehydrate after a day of sun and heat. 

2.  For purchased and flowers cut from your garden, cut the stem at a 45-degree angle to exposes more surface area to the water. (image 1) If your flowers are purchased make that 45-degree cut an inch or more above the bottom of the stem. 
3. Remove any leaves below the water line to keep them from rotting and stinking up the water. (image 2)
4. Use cool water unless you want to force them to open up faster, then use warm water.
5. Don’t display the vase in direct sunlight as the sun will heat the water and may even “cook” the stems.
6. Change the water after a couple of days, don’t forget to add more magic powder! 
7. Keeping cut flowers fresh much longer by following these simple steps. (image 3)

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    Thank you. A young florist said use “Sprite”

    1. growwithdoctorjo

      Sprite would work, however, it may be a fairly pricey preservative

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