Does Fresh Flower Food Make Flowers Last Longer?


Artificial floral centerpiece surrounded by greenery, enhanced with fresh flower food.

Flowers hold a special place in our hearts, and adding fresh flowers to a room can enhance the space, making it look more vibrant and colorful. Whether you receive them from a loved one, on a special occasion, or you want to practice some self-love and treat yourself, keeping your flowers fresh will allow you to enjoy your floral arrangements for as long as possible. The question is, does fresh flower food make flowers last longer? 

Cut flowers undoubtedly elevate any area, but their beauty is often short-lived and without proper care, they can quickly begin to wilt. To help prolong freshness, there are steps you can take to extend the aesthetical value of your gorgeous flowers. In this blog, we’ll explain the science of flower food and explore how it helps to keep your flowers fresh and vibrant for a longer period of time. 

Why Do Flowers Lose Their Freshness?

There is nothing more appealing than a beautiful bouquet of flowers to make you feel more positive and happy about yourself and your surroundings.The pop of color and the sweet smell they provide are hard to resist as they enhance even the sparsest of rooms. Ultimately, the fresher the flowers are, the more you’ll reap the mood-improving benefits of richer colors and fragrant scents.

 Unfortunately, cut flowers lose their freshness and become dry and crisp, whereby their color fades and they begin to wilt. Understanding the science of why cut flowers lose their vitality is the key to understanding the impact of fresh flower food. 

Person holding vibrant protea bouquet, nourished with fresh flower food, on white background.

Once a flower is cut from its roots, it will experience a rapid decline in water uptake and nutrients. These are both crucial elements of a healthy and happy flower. The main reason for wilting is that the flower becomes dehydrated and nutrient-deficient as the process of transpiration is restricted. Transpiration is the method of water movement that transports nutrients from the roots and up through the stem to the leaves and flowers. Another reason that can cause poor transpiration is when the flower stem is cut, an air bubble can become lodged in the stem, preventing water uptake Effective stem care is essential to help avoid this. When arranging your cut flowers, start by holding the stems under water and cut the bottom ends diagonally. Cutting the stems under water will prevent air from becoming stuck on the underside of the stem and being drawn up as an air bubble during transpiration. The diagonal cut will create a wider opening and enable more water to be drawn up through the stem to the leaves and flowers.

To further prolong the life of cut flowers, it is essential to use a clean vase as any hidden dirt could cause bacteria to build up in the water and shorten their life span. It’s also essential to remove any floating leaves or petals as if left, this too, could cause a harmful build-up of bacteria.

Understanding the Science of Fresh-Cut Flower Food

Now we’ve explored the reasons behind the wilting of fresh flowers; it’s time to turn our attention to the power of fresh-cut flower food. Flower food is a concoction of specialized ingredients designed to provide energy, balance the pH levels and prevent the build-up of bacteria.

Fresh flower food consists of essential nutrients that help plants endure the stress of being cut and extend the flower’s life span. When you purchase a blooming bouquet of fresh flowers, there’s generally a small packet of flower food attached to it. These packets contain a mixture of citric acid, sugar, and bleach. Alongside fresh water, this combination of ingredients can help prolong the life of flowers. 

Here are the key ingredients included in flower food and the key benefits they provide:

Citric Acid 

When receiving or buying fresh flowers, citric acid plays an essential role in preserving them for as long as possible. The acid works to balance the pH level in the water, which is vital for the flower’s ability to absorb the nutrients it needs.


Sugar acts as an energy source for flowers, providing necessary carbohydrates that keep them thriving. It’s important to note that when flowers are cut, they lose their connection to the natural nutrient supply, so refueling them is vital. With the energy the sugar provides, the plants experience more vitality. This helps them to resist wilting and losing their fresh, vibrant look.


Finding out that bleach is a critical component in flower food is unexpected for many, as it’s hard to imagine it having a beneficial impact. However, bleach acts as a barrier for the flowers, protecting them from any harmful bacteria that may be in the vase of water. Creating this clean environment for the flowers to thrive in reduces the risk of waterborne diseases and helps them avoid harmful bacteria that will lead to wilting. 

Understanding the key roles each ingredient has to play is essential, as it gives you an insight into the importance of using it to your advantage. These components work together to create a healthy and clean environment where flowers can remain as fresh and vibrant as possible. 

Pink tulips and white daisies bouquet, nourished by fresh flower food.

Make Your Own Flower Food for Fresh-Cut Flowers

If you want to avoid buying commercial flower food and are looking for a more cost-effective way to prolong your flowers’ longevity, you can make your flower food at home. Homemade flower food for fresh-cut flowers is a great way to take matters into your own hands when it comes to reviving your beautiful bouquet. 

In just a few simple steps, you can transform the look and health of your flowers with this homemade flower food recipe:

What You’ll Need

The ingredients you’ll need are:

  • One teaspoon of sugar
  • One teaspoon of bleach 
  • Two teaspoons of lime juice or lemon juice 
  • One quart of lukewarm water

The equipment you’ll need is:

  • Measuring spoons
  • A vase for your flowers 
  • A bowl for mixing


Fortunately, making flower food is a cost-effective and straightforward process made with ingredients found at home and following these simple instructions:

  1. Start by filling your vase with lukewarm water, ensuring the vase is clean in order to prevent any harmful bacteria or contaminants from polluting the water. 
  2. Once the vase is filled with water two-thirds of the way, measure out the rest of your ingredients in the mixing bowl. Continue stirring until the mixture looks almost clear and the sugar is dissolved. 
  3. Pour your DIY flower food into the vase of water and mix thoroughly. 
  4. Finally, add your fresh-cut flowers to the mixture in the vase.

By doing this and ensuring your flowers have access to the water, nutrients, and energy they need, your flowers are guaranteed to last longer.

White orchids with purple speckles in glass vase, glowing in soft light with fresh flower food.

How to Keep Flowers Fresh Overnight

If you’ve recently received a beautiful flower arrangement, you’ll want to keep them looking fresh, healthy, and vibrant. Aside from using small packets of flower food or, alternatively, making your own flower food, there are specific steps you can take to extend  their life span.

If you’re wondering how to keep flowers fresh overnight, here are some ideas:

Effective Stem Care

As soon as you receive your flowers, you can prolong their freshness by looking after their stems. Take some sharp scissors and cut the stems at a 45-degree angle,  before placing them in the vase of water. This will help create a larger surface area where they can obtain water, as well as the process of absorbing the nutrients. The flowers will benefit from more water uptake and will appear more vibrant. Remember also, for effective stem care, it is best to cut the stems under water to prevent an air bubble being drawn up and lodging in the stem.

Use the Fridge

Your fridge can be really beneficial in prolonging the life of your flowers. Storing your flowers in the fridge overnight helps to slow down the process of water loss and keeps them looking fresher. However, be aware that fruit and vegetables can give off ethylene gas, which is harmful to flowers and can lead to wilting at a quicker rate. Therefore, ensure you keep refrigerated flowers in an compartment away from the fruit and vegetables.

Avoid Direct Sunlight

Direct sunlight can actually be harmful to cut flowers, so it’s essential to keep them away from the harsh heat and light. Being in the sun too long can cause your flowers to dry out, and over time, they’ll begin to droop and wilt. The environment for your cut flowers should be bright but not in the direct light of the sun.

Avoid Excessive Heat

Cut flowers don’t enjoy being subject to direct heat, as it can cause their petals to dry up and lead to wilting. Heat can dry out the air, which will be detrimental to the condition of your flowers, so try to avoid siting in areas with high temperatures. 

By following these steps, as well as using flower food, you can keep your vibrant  bouquet looking fresh and feeling hydrated for longer. If you keep the environment and conditions suitable for your flowers, you’ll be able to appreciate them for longer as they continue to bring brightness and joy to your space.

Does Fresh Flower Food Make Flowers Last Longer?

In conclusion, the evidence is clear that fresh flower food makes flowers last longer. Whether it’s homemade or comes with fresh-cut flowers, the food is designed to enhance the health of the flowers, keeping them healthy, vibrant, and able to last for longer.

So, if you’re lucky enough to have a  bouquet of fresh, vibrant flowers that you want to preserve for as long as possible, trust in fresh flower food.

For all things flowers and gardening, check out our blogs

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about using flower food to prolong the freshness of your bouquet.

Does flower food make flowers last longer?

Yes, flower food plays a significant role in prolonging the freshness of flowers as it’s full of key ingredients that make flowers last longer. It typically has bleach, sugar, and citric acid, all components that serve a specific positive purpose for promoting the longevity of flowers.

Can I make my own flower food at home?

Absolutely! Making your own flower food at home is a cost-effective and simple way to revive your flowers and ensure they last longer. All you’ll need is sugar, lime or lemon juice, bleach, and lukewarm water, and you’re good to go. This DIY solution is all it takes to enrich your flowers and prolong their life.

How can I keep flowers fresh overnight?

If you want to keep your flowers fresh overnight, keeping them in the refrigerator is an effective way to do so. Just remove all the fruit and vegetables before placing your flowers. However, be aware that freezing temperatures can be detrimental. 

How can I prolong the freshness of my flowers?

As well as flower food, you can prolong the life of your flowers with other beneficial methods. Trimming the stems at a 45-degree angle and keeping the flowers away from direct sunlight and drafts are all methods of keeping your flowers as fresh as possible.

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