How to Keep Cut Flowers Fresh
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)