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If you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat (add me with username alexisroch), then you know I love flowers. I share them all the time because they are such a great mood booster.
Readers always ask how do I keep them pretty for so long?
Today I want to share the BEST homemade fresh cut flower food PLUS chemist secrets∇ on why this actually works so well.
Not to mention, if you subscribe to our newsletter, the next one is going to share even more crazy science tips for the perfect fresh cut flowers that last a REALLY long time.
Two years ago we shared a post on chemist tips for keeping your flowers for a long time.
Readers loved it, but we have even more amazing tips. Since then, I have been working on better ways to keep your flowers plus testing out why certain methods work better than others.
Pin This: Homemade Fresh Cut Flower Food
½ tsp bleach powder (This is the one I am using)
2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ tablespoon lemon powder
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 quart warm tap water
Add 1 quart of warm water to your vase. Allow it to sit for 2-3 minutes before adding in the ingredients**. Add in the bleach powder, lemon juice, lemon powder, and sugar. Give it a stir.
Cut your flowers at a diagonal. If you are picking them from your garden, cut them at a diagonal from the stem. Read these tips for the best time to pick them.
Add your flowers to the vase. Store in the refrigerator at night.
Change out water once a week, re-trim the ends slightly when you chance the water.
***Remember to subscribe to the newsletter below. I will go into details on warm water benefits and other crazy science tips for fresh flowers.
If you have indoor houseplants, check out these chemist tips on shining the leaves!
Chemist Tips on Why this DIY Fresh Cut Flower Food Works.
The little packets that come with fresh flowers work great. There are three main ingredients in these packets: citric acid, sucrose (sugar), sodium hypochlorite (bleach).
Almost all flowers respond to citric acid, which is the acid found in citrus fruits like lemon, orange, and grapefruit. Lemon is a great choice for fresh cut flowers because it doesn’t have as much sugar as the other citrus fruits and has a higher acidity.
Lower pH levels are important to keep flowers perky and bright, and also promotes better water intake through the stems.
My homemade lemon powder packs an additional punch of potassium and acid which really brightens blooms. Those store-bought packets don’t contain this, this is a Chemistry Cachet original addition ?
Sugar is another main component to this little flower food packets at the store. Sugar feeds flower blooms in a vase and keeps the color bright. Since fresh cut flowers don’t have anywhere to get nutrients, sugar water provide the food it needs.
The main component in bleach. This is the number one anti-microbial you can buy for household use. When you add sugar to water, mold and bacteria will grow. Bleach kills off any sources of bacteria or mold instantly. This is a very important addition to homemade plant food. Without it, your flowers can develop bacteria or fungi that will wilt the bloom very fast.
What about another option besides bleach?
There really isn’t another home substitute for it. I have tried many things including baking soda, but that will just dilute the acid. It is also not very potent in water like that, so it doesn’t do a good job of fighting bacteria.
I prefer to use powdered bleach. It is safer, lasts a long time, and seems to work even better. (see FAQs below)
You can use any cheap version you find. All bleach has the same active ingredients.
What is the benefit of making homemade fresh cut flower food?
This is a good questions because those packets are so CHEAP and typically free. There are a few benefits. One is you have an endless supply on hand. Another reasons is you can treat larger amounts of fresh flowers. This will do one quart, but you can double it for a gallon vase with a bunch of flowers. If you have an event or something going on, this is helpful.
In addition to store-bought flowers, you can go pick flowers from the garden, and have a great option on hand to preserve them for much longer.
Not to mention, this works better 🙂
Does it have to be powdered bleach?
If you have regular bleach on hand, feel free to use this too. It will work the same, I just prefer using powdered bleach because I am *ahem* a clumsy chemist 😉 I also noticed the powdered version kept things mold-free for longer. Since you change the water out every week, this isn’t a big issue. So, use what you have on hand!
Do I have to use lemon powder?
No, you can add another teaspoon of lemon juice, BUT lemon powder does have the added potassium which makes flower blooms healthier and more vivid. It definitely helps using the lemon powder, but you can eliminate it for a basic fresh cut flower food if desired.
Enjoy your fresh cut flowers this summer! And keep an eye out for June’s newsletter with more intricate fresh flower tips!