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Flower Food Ingredients

By Katie Leigh ; Updated September 21, 2017

Cut flowers bought at the store are usually accompanied by a packet of commercially made flower food. However, if you cut your own flowers it's easy to make homemade flower food to keep the blooms fresh longer. Flower food ingredients can be broken down into three common household items mixed with water. Depending on the type of flower, homemade flower food can keep a fresh bouquet going for five to 10 days.

White Sugar

White sugar is a carbohydrate that aids in cell metabolism. This flower food ingredient provides valuable nutrients to the flowers that they would normally draw from the soil. White sugar is best because it is a simple carbohydrate, which makes it much easier for the cut flowers to absorb from the water and process. One batch of homemade flower food requires 1 tsp. of white sugar.


Bleach is a biocide that keeps cut flowers fresh by combating bacteria. Because the cut flowers are immersed in water, bacteria can develop when leaves and petals drop off into the liquid and begin to rot. The bacteria can spread to the flowers themselves and cause them to wilt much more quickly. Bacteria cannot develop in water treated with bleach. One batch of homemade flower food requires 1 tsp. of household bleach.

Citrus Juice

Citrus juice provides the cut flowers with an acidic environment. Growing flowers are used to taking in acid from the soil along with other nutrients; the acidic elements aid in the absorption of water. This flower food ingredient adjusts the water pH to mimic the flowers' natural environment. One batch of homemade flower food requires 2 tsp. of pure citrus juice. Lime and lemon juice are best, as they don't contain the high sugar content of orange juice.


Water is the delivery method for the flower food. When making homemade flower food, it's best to use filtered water. Dissolve the white sugar, household bleach and citrus juice in 1 quart of lukewarm water and pour the mixture into the water vase. Do not top it off with extra water, as that will dilute the solution.