We Tried It: The Best Way to Keep Flowers Fresh

updated May 4, 2019
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(Image credit: Melissa DiRenzo)

There’s nothing that can freshen up your space or brighten your day like a bouquet of flowers. The only downside to these lovelies is that we wish they would last longer. We’ve all heard of different tips and tricks to help our flowers stay fresh as long as possible, and I thought I would put some of the common options to the test. Keep reading to see the results and the big winner!

We wanted this to be a fair test, so here’s what you need to know before it even started:

  • All the bouquets were purchased at the same grocery store at one time, so likely from the same source.
  • Each vase was washed in hot soapy water to remove any lingering dirt or bacteria.
  • All flower ends were cut at an angle before placing in vases.
  • Each vase has 1/2 liter of cool tap water.
  • Water was topped up, if necessary, each day and everything was completely freshened on day 3.

Now for the different methods — there are lots of options out there to try but these were 5 of the most common we decided to test:

(Image credit: Melissa DiRenzo)

PENNY: 1 clean copper penny
THEORY: copper acts as antibacterial agent

ASPIRIN: 1 crushed tablet per liter
THEORY: mimics effects of traditional flower food

BLEACH: 2 caps full per liter
THEORY: kills mold & bacteria

FRIDGE: placed in fridge over night each day
THEORY: like fruits & veg, keeps them fresh

CIDER VINEGAR (AND SUGAR): 2 tsp cider vinegar + 2 tsp sugar per liter
THEORY: encourages buds to open and last longer

(Note: only 1/2 liter of water was used for this experiment so all measurements were cut in half)

Now for the results! I think you may be surprised—I know we were.

(Image credit: Melissa DiRenzo)
(Image credit: Melissa DiRenzo)
(Image credit: Melissa DiRenzo)
(Image credit: Melissa DiRenzo)
(Image credit: Melissa DiRenzo)
(Image credit: Melissa DiRenzo)
(Image credit: Melissa DiRenzo)

What was most surprising was that, according to this test, many of the methods actually seems to accelerate wilting. It may be a case of doing more scientific research into the quantities and ratio of substances as they did range when we looked into it. But you may just want to forget about all those tips anyway because the big winner didn’t use anything at all!

(Image credit: Melissa DiRenzo)

Just by popping your bouquet in the fridge when you go to bed will help them stay fresh and last much longer and there’s no fussing. It makes sense if you think about it because floral stores have big fridges full of their precious inventory. As you can see, these tulips still have life in them and if you’re someone who likes to buy fresh flowers every week, this may even save you the cost of one bouquet a month. Bonus! And of course an honorable mention goes out to the copper penny.

Here’s to a season full of fresh flowers!