If you got a lovely arrangement of flowers for Mother’s Day, you’d want to keep them looking good for as long as possible. According to CNet, you can take steps to extend their life to help your blooms avoid withering and turning brown before their time.
Here’s what to do to keep your flowers looking fresh longer, according to a pair of floral experts:
Change the water and do it often – Adding fresh, lukewarm water to a clean vase will keep them healthy. Joe Guggia, owner of JP Designs Floral in Santa Monica, California, says the key to vase arrangements lasting longer is replacing the water as frequently as possible.
Trim the ends – Recutting the ends of the stems will add to their longevity, but don’t go using blunt kitchen scissors. Lucy Bradley, a consumer and community horticulture professor at North Carolina State University, recommends using a sharp knife or shears to prevent damaging the stem and reducing its ability to take up water. Clean the cutting tool with alcohol first, then cut stems at a 45-degree angle at least half an inch from the end to eliminate any clogs.
Add pennies, but only old ones – This hack only works with pennies minted before 1982, when pennies contained copper, which Bradley explains is a fungicide that prevents disease. She says now pennies are mostly made of zinc, so they no longer have antimicrobial properties.
But some cut-flower tips don’t really work as well:
Adding sugar or Sprite soda to the vase can act as plant food to extend the bloom, but Bradley says it’s not as effective as those little packets of commercial floral preservatives.
Beware if you add bleach to fresh flowers. Bradley explains that adding a teaspoon of bleach per gallon of water can help kill bacteria and fungi, but adding too much – which is easy to do with just a vase full of water – can kill plant cells.
Avoid adding vodka, vinegar, or aspirin to cut flowers. These tricks may work in some cases, but Guggia says he wouldn’t do any of them because they may not all benefit from the additives in a mix of flowers. He insists that overall, “Keeping the water clean is the best thing” to do to keep flowers looking their best for longer.