How to Make a Homemade Floral Preservative

Lyndsey Hawkins

We all love getting a surprise delivery from the florist or bringing home beautiful fresh flowers from the market. They always come with a little powder packet that you add to the water in your vase to keep your flowers fresh.

Keep cut flowers fresh longer using ingredients from your kitchen.

Ever wonder what is in that packet and if you can do the same sort of thing with cut flowers from your own backyard or garden? There's a simple, effective recipe for an all-natural homemade floral preservative. It will keep the lovely arrangements you grow and design yourself as fresh as the ones you buy at a florist.


Some gardeners swear by simple flat citrus soda because it all ready contains citric acid and sugar, but you might want to add the anti-bacterial agent of bleach anyway. Experiment a little because the success of your recipe depends on the pH of your water. Some recipes call for aspirin and vinegar mixed with lemon juice and water. Overall, you're looking for something to lower the pH of tap water and something to kill bacteria.


Some recipes call for Listerine or other mouthwashes, but these are ineffective and might even shorten the life of your cut flowers. Keep your arrangement in a cool place away from direct sunlight and drafts.

  1. Clean the vase you are going to use. Wash it thoroughly in hot water with soap and rinse well. This will keep bacteria, dust and dirt out of the water and extend the life of your flowers.

  2. Cut your flowers in the early morning because their stems will be filled with water and nutrients from the plant. Cut quickly, and place them in a clean plastic bucket full of plain water immediately as you work.

  3. Mix 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1 teaspoon of plain household bleach, 2 teaspoons of lemon or lime juice and a quart of lukewarm water. Add them to the vase.

  4. Cut the stems at a 45-degree angle. Use a very sharp knife or scissors that does not smash the stems. Remove the lower foliage that would be submerged in the water.

  5. Add the water preservative mixture to the vase and arrange your flowers in a pleasing fashion.

  6. Check your arrangement daily and remove any wilted flowers or ones that have gone limp. Try re-cutting the limp flowers to see if they freshen up. Check water levels and replenish it with the preservative mixture if necessary.