One of the most rewarding parts of the summer flower garden is the cutting and arranging fresh flower vases. While flower arrangements purchased from florists can be quite expensive, home cut flower gardens can provide armloads of beautiful blooms all season long.
What are ways to extend the vase life of these cut flower bouquets? Many tips and techniques lend themselves to improving the length of time that flowers are kept fresh. One method, adding vinegar to cut flowers, is especially popular.
Does Vinegar Help Cut Flowers?
Various types of vinegar have a multitude of uses around the home. Many have explored the potential use of vinegar for cut flowers. Adding vinegar to cut flowers may work due to its ability to alter the pH of water in the vase.
Those preserving cut flowers with vinegar are essentially lowering pH, which in turn, increases the acidity. This increase helps to create an environment that is less suitable for the growth of bacteria, which is often the culprit in the speed of decline in freshness of the flowers.
Adding Vinegar to Cut Flowers
While there is some evidence that vinegar and cut flower arrangements are compatible, it should also be noted that vinegar for cut flowers is not a stand-alone solution to vase life extension. Combining other techniques can help to produce the best results. Adding vinegar to cut flowers will also need to be done in proper quantities, as well as with the addition of other ingredients needed by the flowers.
Those preserving cut flowers with vinegar commonly add both sugar and household bleach to the vase as well. Dissolved sugar serves the important purpose of continuing to feed the stems nutrients as they draw water from the vase. Small amounts of bleach are used to kill any bacteria in the vase that persist.
Ratios for preserving flowers with vinegar will vary. However, most agree that roughly two tablespoons each of vinegar and dissolved sugar should be used for each one quart vase. Adding only a couple small drops of bleach will be more than sufficient for the cut flower vase, as too much can quickly kill the flowers.
In creating this mix, always make certain that vases are kept safely out of reach from children and pets.