How to Preserve Cut Flowers With Bleach


When you cut a flower you remove it from its life system. It can no longer get food or fight off bacteria. This is why florists give you a packet of what they call "flower food." The flower food provides the plant with nutrients as well as an agent that prohibits bacteria from growing in the water of your flower vase. If you are not given a packet of flower food, or if you pick your own flowers, you can use bleach to keep bacteria from forming in the water. This will preserve the life of your cut flowers.

Step 1

Pour the water into your vase and allow it to reach room temperature. If you place your cut flowers in cold water it can shock them.

Step 2

Add 2 tbsp. of lemon juice, 1/2 tsp. bleach, and 1 tbsp. of sugar to the water in the vase. Mix the ingredients up. These ingredients work the same way that the mix in the florists flower food packets do.

Step 3

Cut your flower stems at a 45-degree angle. Set your cut flowers in the prepared water.

Step 4

Make new "flower food" and snip the ends of your stems every three days. Changing the water will keep your flowers looking healthy and strong.

Tips and Warnings

  • Leaving leaves underneath of the water line in the vase can actually encourage bacteria to grow. It is best to remove those leaves, and only allow leaves above the water line to remain on the cut flowers.

Things You'll Need

  • Vase
  • 1 qt. water
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. bleach
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • Cut flowers


  • University of Illinois Extension: Preserving Cut Flowers
  • Plantea: How to Preserve Fresh Cut Flowers Naturally
Keywords: preserving cut flowers, bleach uses, keeping flowers fresh

About this Author

Alicia Bodine has been a professional writer for six years. She has produced thousands of articles for online publications such as Demand Studios, Bright Hub, Associated Content and WiseGeek. Bodine is also the current cooking guru for LifeTips. She has received awards for being a top content producer.