There's a wide range of myths and legends when it comes to keeping stem-cut flowers fresh, but what methods work and which ones are bunk? Here's a breakdown of what will help your flowers stay fresh for the long haul:
Put a Penny in the Vase
This myth has some factual evidence to back it up. Copper is a fungicide, so adding a penny to the water in your vase helps protect your flowers from bacteria. This is similar to what florists do when they add little packets of antibacterial chemicals. It is also recommended that the penny be accompanied by an aspirin, which is acidic and helps water flow through your flowers.
A little bleach serves the same purpose as the penny. Bleach kills bacteria, but it will also whiten the stems of your flowers if you use too much. Again, an acidic element is needed, so many people pair bleach with lemon juice, lemon-lime soda or vinegar. Remember, a little bleach goes a long way.
When flowers are cut at the stem, they immediately begin to lose out on nutrients provided by photosynthesis. Adding sugar to water in your vase will give your flowers the nutrients to continue growing – however, this comes at a cost. Sugar also encourages the growth of bacteria, which can cause your flowers to smell and ultimately lead to their swift decay. So sugar should be accompanied by an antibacterial agent as well.
Using this alcoholic spirit helps slow down the rate at which flowers ripen, but too much can kill your flowers. Only a few drops of vodka should be added to the water in your vase.
The most important thing to remember when trying any of these methods is to exercise moderation. Flowers primarily need water, and adding too much bleach, soda, vodka or sugar will potentially endanger their longevity.