A trio of solutions for fresh flowers

  • By Judyrae Kruse / Columnist
  • Thursday, August 11, 2005 9:00pm
  • Life

What with planting, weeding and constant watering, winding up with a fistful of flowers to pick and plunk in a jug of water is not exactly child’s play.

In fact, it’s fairly hard, labor-intensive work. And that’s without factoring in the ongoing battle with slugs, bugs and weather that can go sour on you in the blink of an eye.

While it’s true that a bouquet is a gift for the soul, no doubt about it, it’s also true that those flowers owe it to you to last a good long while. Here, then, are three ways to extend the life of your cut flowers, thanks to a trio of savvy gardeners.

Longtime Forum helper-outer Arlene Snell of Everett starts us off, saying, “I got this recipe for keeping flowers fresh from my daughter. And it just really works!”

Next, we hear from Darlene DeGross of Marysville, “This recipe for homemade floral preservative is a tried-and-true one I’ve used for many years.”

And Lake Stevens expert Evelyn Matheson tells us, “My husband and I were in the nursery business for 25 years, and got the following information from the University of California at Davis. It really works. I’ve had fresh flowers last four to five weeks.

“To last, the flowers should be freshly opened, not open for days. If they are too old, they may not last long. If buying cut flowers at a store, be sure to cut the stems right away.”

Arlene’s daughter’s solution for keeping flowers fresh

1quart water

1/2teaspoon light corn syrup

1/4regular liquid bleach

Combine all ingredients, pour into vase and add fresh flowers.

Homemade floral preservative

3cups water

1baby aspirin, crushed (an antibiotic)

1tablespoon sugar (keeps buds opening)

1teaspoon vinegar (keeps water moving up the stems)

Cut 1 inch off stems of flowers and strip leaves that will be below water level. Mix together the water, aspirin, sugar and vinegar and put in a vase for the flowers.

University solution for keeping flowers fresh

2cups warm water, plus extra for daily top-up

1heaping teaspoon sugar

1tablespoon regular liquid bleach

Always pick flowers early in the morning. Remove all leaves on stems below water line. Mix water with sugar until sugar is dissolved. Add bleach. Double amounts for large vases. Add warm water every day to keep vase full. Do not use bleach with roses. On the fourth day, empty water mixture and trim all stems about 1/2 to 1 inch. Put in vase filled with fresh water mixture.

The next Forum will appear in Monday’s Time Out section.

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