3 DIY Flower Food Recipe Fails and 1 Win (In Pictures)

how to keep flowers fresh in a vase

How To Waste Money Following Free DIY Flower Food Recipe Advice

The internet is full of free DIY flower food recipes. And much of it will kill your fresh cut flowers faster than doing nothing at all.

One of my biggest failures was adding a aspirin to the flower water.

That single aspirin turned the stems of my roses blac,k and the flowers wilted in less than 24 hours. Yikes!

Your Flower Investment Is Serious Money

Flower Food should Make Everyday Flowers Last Every Day You Expect them To

Flowers are an indulgence. Something to boost you up and make you feel good. Something we usually associate with self-care or gift giving. 

Flowers should make your home more beautiful and makes you feel good about a room as you enter it. 

They should never disappoint or frustrate you. 

At the very least, I always expected my flowers to last a week. But I always like them to last longer. It makes me feel like the flowers were a good use of my money.

I even stopped buying flowers for a long time because nothing seemed to make my flowers last and I felt like I was just wasting money.

Even if you just buy the $5.99 bargain flowers, they should never die quickly. While there is a lot of internet advice out there, no one ever tests it and shows how it work. 

So we took the recipes and some $9.99 flowers from Costco and put the advice to the test. 

For each formula we  followed the internet advice but we used bottled spring water to ensure tap water was not an issue. All the stems were trimmed (diagonally) to ensure they could easily drink in each formula. 

Some recipes were vague and didn’t say how much water so we assumed a recipe was for 1 liter of water (the most common quantity listed) and scaled each recipe based on that to fit our vases.

Picking The Best Cut Flowers To Test

There were no bouquets available that were all the same flowers, so we took a mixed bouquet that was mostly the same.

flower food recipes

Selecting the DIY Flower Food Test Flowers

Next, we sorted through the flowers and selected the flowers that were the most alike and freshest of the bunch. 

Pro tip: when selecting a bouquet, always look at the underside of flowers. They will often show the stress of transport or age first. The floral departments will usually trim off dying blooms to make a bouquet look fresher so also look for trimmed areas. 

Since flowers don’t come with a “best by” date, you should always take a few moments to try to select the freshest flowers possible so you have the best chance of making them last as long as you expect. 

 

flower food recipes

There were actually a few extra flowers so those were put aside in their own vase and not included in the test results here.

 

flower food recipes

Giving each Flower an Equal Start

Each vase was labeled and filled with the flower food formula being tested. 

Each vase was filled with bottled spring water from Alhambra.

And the stems of each flower were trimmed (diagonally) to ensure the stems had a clear path to take in water.

A flower was then randomly placed in each vase. 

And the test begins…

DIY Flower Food Test (In Pictures)

See What Works And What Fails

DIY Flower Food Recipe #1: Aspirin

Advice:  Add an aspirin to a cut flower vase to extend the life of cut flowers.

We used one tablet of regular aspirin in the vase.

flower food aspirin
aspirin in flower water
flower food aspirin
aspirin in flower water
flower food aspirin
aspirin in flower water
aspirin in flower water

Result: I’ve actually had aspirin kill my flowers in less than a day (or I assumed it was the aspirin) so I was not surprised by the almost immediate wilt that was shown here. Of all the recipes I’ve tried, this has been the one that has consistently killed every type of flower I’ve tried it on – quickly. Here we had drooping petals less than 24 hours after starting. 

 By day 3 these flowers were looking pretty rough.
 

Day 5 they were pretty much dead but I’m running a 7 day challenge and let them roll.

DIY Flower Food Recipe #2: Sugar & Vinegar 

Sugar And  Vinegar For Cut Flowers

Advice:  Add 3 tablespoons sugar & 2 tablespoons of vinegar to a cut flower vase to extend the life of cut flowers. There was no indicated of how much water so we assumed this recipe was for a liter of water (about 4 cups) and scaled the recipe to accommodate our vases. 

Sugar And Vinegar For Cut Flowers

Sugar And  Vinegar For Cut Flowers

Result:  This formula did pretty well until day 5. Then, we saw the flowers start to droop pretty significantly and it was clear they were fading fast. 

DIY Flower Food Recipe #3: Sugar& Bleach

Bleach And Sugar For Flowers

Advice: 3 drops bleach and 1 teaspoon sugar in 1 quart (1 liter) water. 

 

bleach and sugar for flowers
bleach and sugar for flowers
bleach and sugar for flowers
bleach and sugar for flowers
bleach and sugar for flowers
bleach and sugar for flowers
bleach and sugar for flowers

Bleach and Sugar For Flowers

Result: This was the clear winner in the DIY category. There was some slight drooping on the undersides of the flowers but, overall, this held up nicely. The ingredients are usually around the house, so it is easy to do at home. If your expectations are to only keep your flowers for 7 days, this recipe will clearly get you to the finish line.

DIY Flower Food Recipe #4: Baking Soda

Advice:  Add 1/4 cup of soda to a vase of cut flowers to make the blooms last longer. Again, no directions for how much water and this seems like a lot of baking soda so we assumed this is for 1 liter of water and scaled it to fit our vases. 
flower food baking soda
flower food baking soda
flower food baking soda
flower food baking soda
flower food baking soda
flower food baking soda
flower food baking soda
flower food baking soda

Baking Soda In Flower Water

Result: Honestly, this one surprised me. I fully expected so much baking soda to choke the flowers quickly. But on day two they looked good. No wilting, offering blooms that pretty much preserved the way they looked at the start. 

But by day 3 there was trouble in paradise. The flowers looked good, but the buds under the flowers were showing clear distress. By day 4 the flowers where wilting more, and by day 5 and 6 you have severe wilting and browning. 

My advice: pass on the baking soda. It did not appear to make the flowers open well and certainly did not extend their life.

DIY Flower Food Recipes Compared To Plain Water

Plain water was used for comparison here. I figure at the very least, we all bring home flowers and put them in fresh water. This gives you a good idea of how the DIY recipes compare to just throwing flowers in water. 

I did use purified spring water (the bottled stuff you get delivered) so be aware that tap water that is either too hard, or too soft, will change your results.

flower water in vase
flower water in vase
flower water in vase
flower water in vase
flower water in vase
flower water in vase

Flower Water In Vase

Result:  Water did an excellent job of keeping flowers fresh. So good, that it makes you question why some of the DIY formulas failed so badly. Did they really kill the flowers before their time? 

While you can never tell if the florist mixed up flowers of different ages, having these flowers last so much longer than the other formulas does make you wonder.

Still, by day 7, plain water was clearly not a long-term solution and the flowers were showing clear distress and on their way out.

DIY Flower Food Recipes Compared To Flower Food Packets Free With Flowers

Advice: The package indicates the “free pack” will treat 1 liter of water so this was again, scaled to fit our vases. 

flower food packets
flower food packets
flower food packets
flower food packets
flower food packets
flower food packets
flower food packets

Flower Food Packets Vs DIY Solutions

Result: I honestly don’t know what to think of the free packets you get with flowers. I know this is the same formula that florists and professional wholesalers use, so it confuses me that I always seem to be disappointed with the results. Here you can see a little wilting on day 2 and the flowers are failing to open at all. 

These flowers were pretty much dead by day 4. 

Again, you can’t tell if a florist mixes in older flowers to a bouquet, so this is less than scientific. But I have had similar results before, and I’ve had other people tell me they also don’t see that the packets help, so I’m left confused by this one. And disappointed.

BONUS:

DIY Flower Food Recipes Compared To Flower Boosters

We didn’t intent to add ourselves to the test but we did take the extra flowers not used in the internet recipe comparisons above and treat them with Flower Boosters. Then, I realized I should probably throw in their performance as a bonus. While not technically a DIY solution, Flower Boosters does give you a fair comparison of how Flower Boosters performs since it is the same batch of flowers as the DIY tests and these flowers were treated exactly the same way as the DIY tests. 

The results speak for themselves:

flower boosters
flower boosters
flower boosters
flower boosters
flower boosters
flower boosters
flower boosters
Do Something

Your Flowers Will Thank you for

Cut Flower Food That Keeps Flowers Energized With Caffeine

Use A Fresh Flower Food That Stems Will Crave

how to keep flowers fresh in a vase

Perk up your flowers so they stay bright and hydrated longer. Now there is flower food for cut flowers with the  extra boost of caffeine.

Flower Food For Cut Flowers With Caffeine

Why caffeine? The same way you crave your first cup of coffee each day, caffeine helps perk up your cut flowers and make them thirsty for a big gulp of water that will help keep them fresh and hydrated longer. 

 

fresher flowers

It makes you wonder why no one thought of this before!

Coming soon:  optional scents that let you take your fresh flower experience to a whole new level. Featuring scent boosters that turn ordinary vase water into a whole room freshener with natural and organic real flower fragrances!

Flower Boosters is the ultimate solution for how to make fresh cut flowers last longer and smell better than ever before. It is flower food for cut flowers that flowers will crave.

Learn more at FlowerBoosters.com

Free Shipping $25+
Free Shipping $25+
Works On Any Flowers
Works On Any Flowers
Unscented
Unscented
Satisfaction Guarantee
Satisfaction Guarantee
Shopping Cart

Let's Be Flower Friends

Sign up to be notified of our launch date and get a coupon code for our best pre-launch discount.