Cut flowers bring the color and fragrance of the garden indoors. Whether you cut the flowers from your own garden or purchase them from a florist you want them to look their best for as long as possible. Adding a preservative to the water gives the flowers the nutrients they need to prolong blooming for as long as possible. Most types of flowers will last for one to two weeks when they are kept in a vase correctly and properly fed.
Mix 2 tablespoons white sugar with 2 tablespoons vinegar. Add ½ teaspoon vinegar to the sugar mixture then mix it into 1 quart of warm, 100-degree F distilled water. Fill the vase with the mixture.
Hold the bottom of the stem under warm running water. Cut off the bottom ½ inch at an angle, while still holding it under the water, with a sharp knife.
Strip off any leaves on the stem that will be under water once placed in the vase. Removing them prevents them from rotting and releasing damaging bacteria into the water solution.
Place the flowers in the vase as soon as they are prepared. Allow them to rest and absorb water for two hours before arranging them.
Replace the preservative mixture in the vase if it becomes cloudy or every three to four days. Remove stems as they wilt so they don't release bacteria into the water that will cause the rest of the bouquet to wilt more quickly.