How to keep your flowers fresh longer: we've tested the hacks to get the most from your blooms

If you need to know how to keep your flowers fresh longer, the Real Homes team has tried and tested some key hacks so you can keep your flowers looking lovely for longer

pink pretty flowers in a glass vase
(Image credit: Bloom & Wild)

Figuring out how to keep your flowers fresh longer can be a tricky business. We all love filling up our homes with flowers. Not only do they bring a welcome pop of color, but the natural curved lines and rounded edges of flowers bring an organic and laid-back feel to any room. And while you can, of course, get the look by going faux, the sweet scent of fresh blooms and the joy of watching them open up from a bud simply can't be replicated. 

Part of the joy of real flowers is, much like houseplants, nurturing them and giving them the most effective environment possible. When arranging flowers, enough sunlight and fresh water are a given, but we've heard of some weird and wonderful hacks that are meant to work to keep your flowers fresher for longer. From vodka to a copper coin, the Real Homes team has tested out five key hacks to find out if they really work, or not. 

So whether you've treated yourself to a spontaneous flower delivery or you've received a beautiful bunch from a loved one, keep them looking lovely for longer with the hacks that really work. 

*We must note, this experiment was carried out during a heatwave. Our beautiful flowers from Bloom & Wild were delivered during a spell of hot weather (the hottest on record) and the poor blooms turned up a little parched. We split the blooms in half and made sure all variables were the same – similar vases, same volume, same temperature of water, and equal amounts of sunlight. So let's see if these hacks can revive them...

Hack 1: lemonade

What the experts say

'The sugar in the soda will act as fuel for the flowers and keep them looking fresh for longer periods of time. Make sure you let the soda sit on the counter and allow it to come to room temperature before adding it to your flower vase water. Cold soda can shock the flowers,' says Amy Weiher, founder and creative director at Weiher Creative.

stages of fresh flowers with and without lemonade

(Image credit: Future)

Amelia Smith: 'I split my bunch of flowers in half and put one bunch into fresh water, and one bunch into a mixture of water and Sprite.'

'I was surprised at what a huge difference the Sprite made. All of the flowers with the Sprite appeared fresher, more upright, and more vibrant in color than the flowers without.'

'It's not the cheapest hack in the world, but if you've got lemonade in the fridge already it's definitely worth adding a splash to your blooms to keep your flower home decor looking good for longer!'

Hack 3: In the fridge overnight

What the experts say

'Just like at night time when we open our windows to enjoy the cool air, your flowers may find it more pleasant to spend the night outdoors, or even better, in the fridge,' says Alice Naylor-Leyland, renowned tablescaper and florist.

flower test showing the results of being in the fridge or not fridge

(Image credit: Future)

Alison Jones says, 'I put half of my bunch of flowers in the fridge overnight, and I left the other half out on the table overnight as usual, to compare if this overnight cooling would make a difference to the flowers' longevity.'

'For the first few days, the vase of flowers left out held its own against the other half of the bunch being kept chilled overnight. But by days four and five, the room-temperature blooms were showing distinct signs of drooping.'

'By day seven, the roses were browning, the rest of the flowers were wilting and they’d reached the point where they needed to be tossed in the garden bin.'

'In contrast, the flowers that got cold comfort at night were still looking pretty fresh, the roses pink and healthy and the white and yellow alstroemeria bright, their heads held high.'

'Yes, keeping flowers in the fridge overnight certainly gave them an extra few days of life. However, it would need a second or spare fridge to make it work, as the family fridge would need to be cleared out nightly to make space for the vase. I had to take two shelves and the salad drawer out of the fridge just to fit the vase full of flowers in, so it was a bit of a faff.'

Hack 2: Copper coin in water

What the experts say

'A top tip is to put a penny in the vase, as the copper will help prevent the growth of bacteria in the water,' says Kirsten McKinley, founder of Weddings & Brides.

stages of fresh flowers with and without a coin in the vase

(Image credit: Future)

Camille Dubuis Welch: 'I was a little dubious about how putting a copper coin in my flower's water would help keep them fresh. 

And safe to say, it made no difference at all. The flowers with the copper coin and the flowers with fresh water alone lasted just as long as each other.'

Hack 4: Vodka

What the experts say

'Adding a dash of vodka to your flower water can help prevent the growth of bacteria, and keep your flowers looking fresher for longer,' says Stacy Lewis, owner and interior designer at Eternity Modern.

stages of fresh flowers in vases

(Image credit: Future)

Lindsey Davis: 'I compared the longevity of my flowers in fresh water, with flowers in a mixture of water and vodka! After a week, the two sets of flowers basically looked the same, so the vodka clearly made no difference.'

'I would have liked to continue the experiment for a little longer, and without the heatwave, to see if this would have made a difference.'

Hack 5: Apple cider vinegar and sugar 

What the experts say

'Mixing two tablespoons of sugar and apple cider vinegar in the vase water will help prevent the growth of bacteria in the water and enhance your flower's longevity. Make sure to replace your water every few days' says Stacy.

Christina Chrysostomou: 'In one vase I added a tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar, and sugar (only the best for my plant babies).'

'Though I'd imagined the ACV and sugar would feed the flowers (after all, I couldn't spare the thought of guzzling a capful every morning as part of a health kick I'd seen online), they didn't do so well. In fact, I think the light vinegary syrup may have attracted some fruit flies, and the water looked a little murky.'

'I get the 'science' behind the ACV as it's antibacterial. But the sugar sort of countered that as a catalyst for bacteria and where leaves and foliage had in the water, the granulated stuff only worked to speed up the slimy leaf factor... Gross.'

'Maybe if it wasn't 40C/104F, and I used a little less sugar... this might've worked, but for now, I'm sticking to either water, or the pre-packaged flower food.'

Amelia Smith
Content Editor

After joining Real Homes as content producer in 2016, Amelia has taken on several different roles and is now content editor. She specializes in style and decorating features and loves nothing more than finding the most beautiful new furniture, fabrics and accessories and sharing them with our readers. As a newbie London renter, Amelia’s loving exploring the big city and mooching around vintage markets to kit out her new home.