Floral designer and author Shane Connolly compared imported mass-produced cut flowers to budget fast food when he spoke to our founder, Rosebie Morton, for British Flowers Week. ‘Fast flowers’ often have a longer vase life, but so often lack the scent, character and theatre of seasonal and sustainably grown flowers such as ours. However, read on as we share some tips and tricks for helping your cut flowers to last longer, including Rosebie’s recipe for DIY cut-flower food using just three common household ingredients.

Although our cut flowers are delivered with pre-made cut-flower food in a biodegradable sachet, this DIY recipe is great to have on hand.

First, make sure that the vase you have chosen is spotlessly clean - dishwashers and synthetic washing-up liquid can leave behind residue so we suggest cleaning your vase with vinegar or lemon juice and then rinsing well. Using a ceramic vase like our Flower Pot or Flower Jar (link), will also help your flowers to last for longer. Then follow the recipe below - it can easily be scaled up or down depending on the size of your vase.

DIY Cut-Flower Food Ingredients

  1. 400-500ml water
  2. 1 tablespoon sugar
  3. 1 dessertspoon vinegar
  4. 1-2 drops of bleach

Add all the ingredients to your vase and give them a stir.

The sugar provides carbohydrate energy that helps to feed the flowers. Flowers produce and consume sugar as they photosynthesise but once cut production stops. Sugar added to the water keeps the picked flowers fed.

The vinegar lowers the pH of the water, which improves water uptake by the stems. Bleach acts as a disinfectant, helping to prevent bacterial build-up. If you are trying to go greener, you can try cutting out the bleach and using apple-cider vinegar, which has been shown to have antimicrobial properties.

Before placing your flowers in water make sure to remove any leaves that will sit below the waterline - dead leaves in the water cause mould and bacteria to grow. You should cut the stems at a 45-degree angle using sharp scissors such as our Japanese floristry scissors or secateurs.

To help your flowers last even longer, choose a cool spot out of direct sunlight and replace the water every couple of days. Each time you change the water give the stems a quick trim as they tend to dry and form a seal at the cut ends.

You can discover more tips for caring for your cut flowers in this post about Getting the Most from your English Fresh from the Farm Flower Box.