Although cut flowers don't last forever, you can extend the length of time you'll enjoy them by employing a few simple tricks, including adding lemon juice and sugar to the water, or by lining a vase with lemon slices for visual interest (or, okay, to hide the stems). Here's really why you might want to put lemons in with your flowers.
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1. Lemons Make Great Flower Food
Often when you purchase a bouquet from the store, it comes with a little flower feeder packet. Typically, this is a combination of three substances: citric acid, sugar, and an antimicrobial agent. These three ingredients work together to keep the cut blossoms going strong for as long as possible. (The citric acid helps open up those stems to allow water in, the sugar provides carbs, and the antimicrobial prevents fungus growth inside the vase.)
But if you're using flowers from your own garden (or the little packet of feeder didn't come with your bouquet), you can make your own mixture to keep those blossoms happy and looking good. The internet is full of ideas for homemade plant food, including aspirin and vinegar. Don't be fooled — neither works.
Instead, make a mixture that duplicates the ingredients in the little packet by mixing together:
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon bleach
- 1 quart distilled water.
The mixture both offers fertilizer for your cut flowers and opens their stems to water intake. Finally, it helps to reduce the microbes in your flower water, which slows down the decomposition of the stems.
2. Lemons Add Visual Interest
Juicy, yellow lemon slices are pretty in and of themselves. You can make use of their decorative qualities by placing them carefully in a large vase or pitcher. Here's how to get the look:
- Cut the lemons into slim slices about 1/3 of an inch thick
- Line the inside of a vase with them.
Lemons might make the water too acidic if actually in the flower water. But here's the trick. In order to accomplish this cool look you use a slender vase inside the larger vase or pitcher. Put cut flowers and their water (as well as cut-flower feeding mixture) into the slender vase. Then place this vase inside the larger vase or pitcher. The lemon slices get positioned between the two vases. You can see them from the outside but they are totally independent of the flowers and water.