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Fact or Fiction: Which of These Fresh Flower Care Tips Are True?

August 17, 2023

Box of UrbanStems peony flowers

You’ve just received a stunning bouquet of fresh-cut flowers. Now, you want to keep those flowers looking their best for as long as possible. But what is the best way to take care of a bouquet of flowers? How can you prevent your flowers from wilting within a few days?

Over the years, a lot of information has been tossed around about flower care. Some of it is true, and some of it is not. Whether your aunt swears by feeding aspirin to her flowers or you once heard that a penny will save your bouquet, we are here to bust common myths around flower care and help you discover what really works. Get ready to find out what is fact and what is fiction.

Fact or Fiction: Which of These Fresh Flower Care Tips Are True?

  1. Trim Your Flowers
  2. Add Sugar to Your Flowers
  3. Remove Lower Leaves
  4. Add Coins to Your Vase
  5. Add Aspirin to Your Flowers
  6. Change Your Water Frequently
  7. Put Your Bouquet in the Sunlight
  8. Bananas Can Cause Your Flowers to Wilt
  9. Store Your Flowers in the Fridge Overnight

#1: Trim Your Flowers


When you first bring your bouquet of flowers home, do you immediately reach for the scissors? If so, you’re on the right path. Trimming the stems of your flowers at a 45-degree angle allows them to soak up more water and nutrients.

Why trim at a 45-degree angle? A straight cut doesn’t allow as much of the stem to be in contact with the water. Your flowers might simply rest flat on the bottom of the vase. A quick trim at a slight angle helps your flowers gain better access to the water they need to stay hydrated.

After your initial trim, you should trim your flowers again once every few days.

#2: Add Sugar to Your Flowers


Along with water, fresh-cut flowers need nutrients. For this reason, many people grab the sugar bowl and give a generous scoop of sugar to their bouquet. Another similar concept is to feed your flowers lemonade or even vodka.

While this initial sugar boost might help your bouquet up front, in the long run, it isn’t the best solution. Adding sugar to your flowers can actually trigger the growth of bacteria. Have you ever pulled your bouquet out of the water to trim the stems only to find that the bottom of the bouquet is slimy? This is due to the excessive growth of bacteria.

Rather than relying on sugar alone to feed your flowers, you should instead use a nutrient mix specifically designed for bouquets. While these mixes do contain sugar to feed your flowers, they also contain citric acid — or lemon juice — to help control the pH balance of the water. Additionally, many flower-preserving mixes contain bleach. This bleach helps reduce bacterial growth, allowing your flowers to stay fresh much longer.

#3: Remove Lower Leaves


On the lower portion of your bouquet, you might find there are a few small leaves. When you first receive your bouquet, these leaves might be green and healthy. Other times, they may already be wilting and dead.

Regardless, you should always trim the lower leaves off your bouquet before submerging them in water. When these leaves remain in place, they will quickly wilt in the water. These wilting leaves will then begin to rot and decompose. This can trigger bacterial growth in the water, which can reduce the longevity of your bouquet.

#4: Add Coins to Your Vase


Have you ever been told to throw a few pennies in the bottom of your flower vase? This old myth has been around for a long time. The idea is rooted in the truth that copper can help reduce bacteria. However, the problem is that today’s pennies contain very little copper. In fact, they contain far more zinc.

In addition to the reality that your penny is no longer made of solid copper, adding a coin to your vase can actually introduce new bacteria into the water. Coins are passed around, rarely cleaned, and can become a thriving host for all kinds of bacteria.

#5: Add Aspirin to Your Flowers


Crush up some aspirin, sprinkle it into your flower’s water, and voilà! Your flowers are now preserved. Or at least, that’s what this common idea posits.

While there is a bit of truth to this myth, overall, aspirin alone isn’t enough to keep your flowers thriving. What aspirin can do is help lower the pH level of water. Water with a lower pH level is easier for flowers to absorb. However, by itself, aspirin will not do enough to keep your flowers fresh. It won’t feed your flowers, and a few days in, the difference will be minimal.

#6: Change Your Water Frequently


An important part of mitigating the growth of bacteria in your flower vase is changing out the water. Fresh water can help keep your flowers fresh and prevent icky slime.

Ideally, you should change the water every two days. When you do this, be sure to feed your flowers with a bouquet-specific plant food. This will keep the balance of the water consistent and your flowers happy.

#7: Put Your Bouquet in the Sunlight


If you’ve ever taken care of a houseplant, you know how important the right balance of light is for your plant’s growth. For this reason, many people assume their fresh flowers will also do best in the sunlight.

But because a fresh-cut bouquet is no longer growing, putting these flowers in direct sunlight can do more harm than good. Usually, the sun will trigger your flowers to open up completely, and they will quickly begin to wilt. Instead, keep your bouquet in a cooler part of the room, away from direct light and drafts.

#8: Bananas Can Cause Your Flowers to Wilt


Bananas have gained all sorts of negative attention over the years (ever heard of sailors and the bad luck of bringing bananas on a boat?). While there is nothing mystical about having a banana around your flowers, there is truth to the fact that bananas can make your flowers wilt.

However, it’s not just bananas that are to blame. Ripening fruits release ethylene gas, and this gas can make your flowers age more quickly. So, yes, keep the bananas away, but, in general, keep your flowers away from the fruit basket.

#9: Store Your Flowers in the Fridge Overnight


When testing numerous methods for storing flowers, a clear winner always emerges — the fridge. Refrigerated flowers last much longer than those left out overnight. Every evening, before going to bed, simply move your bouquet into the fridge to help extend the life of your flowers.


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