Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

How to Substitute Flower Food

By Alicia Bodine ; Updated September 21, 2017
Use some items in your home as a substitute for flower food.
bouquet of pink flowers in vase image by Tolbxela from Fotolia.com

Flower food comes in small packets and is used to keep cut flowers fresh as long as possible. Flower food does two things. It keeps bacteria from growing in the water that the flower is set in, and it feeds the flower so that the flower can stay alive as long as possible. Flower food can be substituted as long as the ingredients used have the power to kill bacteria and feed the flower.

Fill a vase three-quarters of the way full with water. Let it reach room temperature.

Add 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar to the water. This inhibits bacteria from growing in the water and killing the flower too early.

Mix in 2 tbsp. of sugar to the water in the vase. This will replace the part of the plant food that feeds the flowers.

Cut your flower stems at an angle so they they don't get any air bubbles. Then immediately place the flowers in the vase of prepared water.


Things You Will Need

  • Water
  • Vase
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • Garden scissors


  • If you don't have any sugar, substitute 1/4 cup of soda.
  • Substitute a crushed aspirin tablet for the vinegar. Aspirin also keeps bacteria from growing.

About the Author


Alicia Bodine has been a professional writer for 13 years. She has produced thousands of articles for online publications such as Demand Studios, GoBankingRates and WiseGeek. Bodine is passionate about gardening, travel, education and finance. She has received awards for being a top content producer.