The cut flowers in a store-bought bouquet are usually stored in water while awaiting sale and will continue to take up water and nutrients when placed in a vase in your home. There are three key issues when trying to keep a flower bouquet fresh and prolong its life: There needs to be adequate fresh water, bacteria in the water needs to be controlled and the water must replace the flow of nutrients that was lost when the flowers were cut from the plant. This can easily be done a few common household items.
Household Chlorine Bleach
Household chlorine bleach, not pool chlorine, is an ideal bactericide for use in the vase water for cut flower bouquets. As living tissues that grew in soil, flower stems and leaves come with some bacteria on them. Plant tissues also break down with exposure to water, light, heat and time. Bacteria in the vase water can rot or clog the stem, wilting and killing the flowers prematurely. A few drops of bleach in every half-gallon of water will keep bacteria counts under control, prolonging the life of the bouquet. Each time the water is changed out, wash the vase, add the few drops of bleach and re-cut the stems. This quick process will extend the life and beauty of the flowers.
White Granulated Sugar
A tablespoon of white granulated or caster sugar is easily metabolized by cut flowers when mixed into the vase water. Use a tablespoon of sugar for every quart of clean, tepid water. Swish or stir the water and sugar together until completely dissolved before placing freshly cut stems into the vase. Each time the vase water is replaced, add more sugar following the same process.
Clear Soda Pop
The simple sugar carbohydrates contained in full-sugar, clear soda pop is a quick way to deliver nutrients into the vase water for the flower stems to absorb. Common name or generic brands of lemon-lime soda are ideal; they will not discolor the water. One part soda to three parts clean, tepid water is the formula no matter the size of your vase. When the water is switched out and the stems re-cut, you must add another dose of fresh soda pop as well. Don't use diet soda--it lacks the sugar the flowers need.