The theory: Increases the acidity of the water, helping it move up the stem.Day 1: One 325-milligram Bayer coated tablet is dropped into the water.Day 4: Drooping and sad, these tulips don't look as if they'll last much longer. Another tablet goes in the water.Day 7: Yikes! More than half the petals have fallen off. (See photo, left.)The verdict: Painful. An aspirin a day may keep the doctor away, but not the florist.Watch this quick video for more ways to extend the life of fresh flowers.
Kills bacteria the way it kills plaque and halitosis. Day 1: A capful of mouthwash is poured into the water.Day 4: The stems are mostly upright and the tulips are beginning to open. (See photo, left.)Day 7: This wild bunch seems to be heading in every possible direction.The verdict: Not much to smile about.
The copper can act as a natural antibacterial agent. Day 1: A penny is added to the water.Day 4: The flowers open and look a little droopy, but the dark tangerine color is still strong.Day 7: The stems are heading in every possible direction, but the blooms have opened up in a fairly regular pattern. (See photo, left.)The verdict: The flowers were slow to bloom, bloomed beautifully, then withered quickly.
Prevents mold, which can kill flowers. Day 1: A capful of bleach is added to the water.Day 4: The stems are almost completely white. But the vibrant tangerine tulips are still erect.Day 7: Still no mold, but the stems are now entirely white, and―like a white T-shirt that has soaked in bleach too long―the petals are yellowing. (See photo, left.)The verdict: It's a wash. The flowers stand tall, but their color doesn't.
Clean water will contain fewer bacteria. Day 1: The ends are snipped by about 1/4 inch, as they will be every day. The vase gets fresh water every day, too.Day 4: The stems are still relatively upright, and the blooms remain healthy.Day 7: A few blooms are ready to be discarded, but with a little rearranging, the bouquet has life in it yet. (See photo, left.)The verdict: Opened beautifully, but the petals dropped like flies after Day 4.
Duplicates the sugar rush that occurs during photosynthesis. It can, however, promote bacterial growth. Day 1: One teaspoon of sugar is added to the water.Day 4: Except for one limp stem, things look pretty good. One more packet of sugar gets poured into the water.Day 7: The flowers have burst open, and the petals are beginning to curl. (See photo, left.)The verdict: Uneven blooming and splayed stems, but the flowers are mostly intact.
Contains a biocide to kill bacteria, an acidifier to help stems drink water, and a sugar to nourish the blooms. Day 1: One tablespoon from a packet is mixed into the water.Day 4: Has sucked up more water than any other bouquet. Opening so beautifully that another tablespoon of the flower food isn't added until Day 5.Day 7: The full bouquet has a soft, dramatic droop and, though fading fast, still gets Best in Show. (See photo, left.)The verdict: The winner of the bunch. (Flower food is available at florist shops.)