Displaying a vase of beautiful flowers in your home can make a beautiful center piece, it can also affect our mood in a positive way too! Flowers can immediately make us happy and have long-term effects on our mood. Flowers have been known to people feel less depressed, less anxious or less agitated after being given flowers.
I live on the border of Wisconsin and Illinois, so usually around this time there's not a flower growing outside in site due to frigid weather. Ok, so maybe this year right around this time is the best example since we've had 70 and 80 degree weather for the past week (but, I don't think anyone's complaining!). However, if you do live where the weather is too cold for flowers, being able to bring pretty flowers and their beautiful aromas in your home makes a big difference.
So, what can you do to prolong the life of your beautiful flowers? Well, I'm so glad you asked! There's actually some common items you probably have at home that you can use!
So, let's dive in to some of the methods you can use to help your flowers live longer and keep that positive mood flowing! Find out which method works the best and which one's don't work so well. Understanding the science behind each method is also very useful and of course, I'll discuss the science as well. Better yet, why not turn what you learn into a science experiment to enjoy with your children?
What the Pro's Usually Recommend
Talk to any professional florist and I bet they're recommendations will include the use of commercial additives (preservatives). The reason they recommend the use of additives is because these preservatives provide the food your flowers need in the form of Sugar. They also help fight off harmful microorganism, and allow for efficient intake of nutrients simply by raising the water's acidity (or in other words, lowering the pH of the water.)
Thing You Can Use To Make Your Own Homemade Flower Preservatives
Bleach– Adding just a few drops of bleach helps control bacteria growth.
Have you ever pulled your flowers out of a vase to throw them away and noticed a gross slime on the leaves that were sitting in the water? If so, know what that icky slime was? Bacteria! By adding a few drops of bleach to your flower's water, this will help control the growth of bacteria.
7-Up or Sprite— These citrus soda's can help produce an effective acidic and sugary water environment for your flowers.
The pro's recommend making a mixture of one part 7-Up or Sprite soda three parts water, and few drops of bleach. When the water becomes more acidic, the water is able to travel easily and more quickly up the flower stem. As we learned earlier, the sugar provides the flower with food.
*Just make sure that you use regular Sprite or 7-Up and not sugar-free, because your flowers need the sugar to get their food.
Sugar– The use of sugar has a pro and a con. When using a sugar mixture, this can be helpful to your flowers by providing them food.
The Downside: A sugar mixture also promotes the growth of microbes. if you decide to go with the sugar mixture, just add a few drops of bleach to help control the growth of microbes.
Vodka— Adding a few drops of Vodka, or any alcohol for that matter, may help prevent your flowers from wilting. The key here: ethylene control.
According to John Elgar – HortResearch, Mt Albert—Ethylene gas is a pollutant generated naturally by all vegetation, especially that which is cut and/or decaying, ripening fruit and vegetables, and some senescing flowers.
It's thought that alcohol has a preserving factor that stops ethylene production.Apple Cider Vinegar & Sugar— It usually takes about four days to achieve those gross slimy leaves without the use of additives. As we talked about before, the key to prevent this is by adding something to create an acidic environment. With the use of vinegar, you can help fight any bacteria that is created from the sugar.
Ground-Up Aspirin— Depending on what you read or who you talk to, aspirin may be a hit or miss when it comes to flower preservation. Aspirin is thought to lower the waters pH, therefore extending the life of your flowers. After doing some research before actually trying this method, I learned that some of the studies found positive benefits to using aspirin and other studies found no benefits at all.
My Results From Using Ground-Up Aspirin
I based my results off the usual 1 week life span of fresh cut flowers I've had in the past without using the ground-up aspirin. With adding the ground-up aspirin to the water, my flowers actually lasted longer. Instead of getting only 1 week, I got a week and a half. So, if you were to ask me—I'd tell you that ground-up aspirin works pretty darn well!
Copper– Copper acts as an acidified agent, which helps prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. Now, before you go throwing pennies into your vase of flowers, you need to know that pennies won't to the job. Copper found in pennies is unfortunately not soluble in water (meaning, it won't dissolve in water).
What Kind of Copper is Soluble in Water?
Copper Sulfatedissolves in water and it helps prevent fungal growth. You can purchase Copper Sulfate really cheap on Amazon. Please note: This Amazon link is an affiliate link. If you choose to click on the link below and make a purchase, I will make a very small commission. Thanks!
Take Your Experiment Even Further and Have Some Fun!
Make your own copper sulfate! Here's how to make it:
Fill a jar or beaker with 5 ml concentrated sulfuric acid and 30 ml of water. ...Set two copper wires into the solution so that they are not touching each other.Connect the wires to a 6-volt battery.
The solution will turn blue as copper sulfate is produced.
To learn more about making copper sulfate, make sure to visitchemistry.about.com.
Mouth Wash-Mouth wash does the same thing it does for your mouth—it kills bacteria. One cap full of mouth wash to one liter of water is all you need.
Con: The mouth wash aroma can over power the scent of your flowers for the first couple of days.
Refrigerator-Colder temperatures help slow down the aging of flowers.
MY FINAL EXPERIMENT RESULTS
So… if you're asking which method worked the best for me what’s the best formula for keeping flowers fresh? I would absolutely have to say refrigeration! Every night before I went to bed, I placed my vase of flowers in the refrigerator. In the morning I removed them from the refrigerator and placed them in room temp.
Now, among the additive methods—hands down, the apple cider vinegar and sugar mixture worked the best. To be honest, it worked almost as well as refrigeration! When I was testing the different methods, I was also changing the water and adding fresh additives on the third day.
Have you ever tried any of these methods? If so, which methods have your tried and which do you feel worked the best? Let me know by leaving a comment below. I always love hearing from you guys!
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