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Nick’s Tip: Grab An Aspirin, Call Me In The Morning

by Nick Vitrano

Valentine’s Day is in the rear view mirror, but it’s still fresh enough to demand a fresh look from your investment.  Flowers: they’re beautiful; they’re fragrant; they’re quick to fade.  One thing they are not is inexpensive, especially on Cupid’s holiday.  So here are some tips for prolonging the life of your cut flowers.

When it comes to keeping your cut flowers looking freshly cut, it boils down to 2 things:

#1 – Feeding the stems.

#2 – Preventing bacterial growth.

As we examine these tips, keep this in mind: your cut flowers are going to die.  By invoking these tips, you’re not going to get weeks upon weeks of blooms from your display.  You won’t sprout new blooms.  You’ll stave off death for a little longer, but most notably, you will improve the quality of life in those final days.  Translation: it’s about appearances.  So here we go:

·   Flat soda.  Any soda will do, but of course, if your vase is clear, you might want to go with a clear refreshment.  This tip is all about the sugar.  Just like us, flowers crave it, and the introduction of it will make the blossoms last longer and look brighter.  Go with about ¼ cup of flat soda in the vase.

·   Sugar.  If you don’t have soda around, just go with straight sugar.  3 tablespoons in the vase achieves the same end as flat soda.

·   Vinegar.  Both of the above nourishment tips benefit from the addition of a couple of tablespoons of vinegar to the vase water.  The vinegar inhibits bacterial growth, the primary contributor to floral decay.

·   Vodka.  Like the vinegar, a few drops of vodka (about ¼ teaspoon) minimizes the growth of bacteria.  And hey, a splash of vodka always makes ya feel a little better about life, doesn’t it?

·   Bleach.  What?  You’re going to kill the flowers!  Right…like I said before, your flowers are dying.  You can’t stop it.  From the moment they are snipped, they’re losing the life battle.  The addition of ¼ teaspoon of bleach will not burn out your blooms, but it will keep the water from getting cloudy and bacteria filled.

·   Aspirin.  It’s a tip as old as time: crush a single aspirin and dissolve in the vase water. 

So there you go.  A little sugar for nourishment, a little bleach or vodka or vinegar to stave off the growth of bacteria…boom – longer lasting cut flowers.  No matter the concoction to which you subscribe, remember to change the water every 2-3 days and to initially snip the stems about 1.5 inches (and at an angle helps).  You can re-cut the stems each time to change the water, as well.