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How To Feed Cut Flowers

By Melissa Lewis ; Updated September 21, 2017
Feed cut flowers so they last longer.

If you take care of cut flowers, they can last longer than they otherwise would. One of the most important components to make cut flowers last longer is feeding them. According to the University of Illinois, they can last several days and sometimes up to twice as long, if you properly feed them. Cut flowers are fed with a floral preservative, which can be commercially prepared or prepared from common household ingredients.

Use the floral preservative that came with your cut flowers, if applicable. Follow the dosing instructions on the label to know the proper dilution rate, but generally it is mixed with 1 qt. of warm water. Stir it in well before placing the cut flowers in the water.

Make your own floral preservative if you don’t have a pre-made packet. There are many floral preservative recipes you can make, such as mixing 2 tbsp. of white vinegar, 2 tsp. of sugar and ½ tsp. of chlorine bleach with 1 qt. of warm water.

Recut the stems at a 45-degree angle about one-fourth to one-half inch from the bottom to increase water uptake, and immediately arrange them in the container with the floral preservative. Also, pinch off any leaves that will set in water to prevent the water from going bad too quickly.

Examine the water. When it looks cloudy, looks dirty or smells bad, change the water. Wash the container and then mix the floral preservative (or homemade version) with new warm water. Wash off the flower stems, then recut and arrange them in the new water.


Things You Will Need

  • Floral preservative
  • Hand clippers

About the Author


Melissa Lewis is a former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist. She has also written for various online publications. Lewis holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.