"Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn't hurt the untroubled spirit either." ~ Elizabeth Zimmerman


A Tip to Share

I love making floral arrangements out of the flowers growing around my house, including the wild ones. One of the  biggest problems, though, is that wild flowers, and some of the domestic ones, don't last very long once you cut them. Some will last for a week. Others last about 45 minutes, and everything in between.

My experience with Lilacs is about 3 days max. I'm feeling lucky if I get two. Most times, I've got up the next morning and they are limp and not smelling quite right. So, lately, my thoughts have turned to that floral preservative stuff that one gets with flowers that come from a florist, (or our local grocery store). I said to sweet hubby "I wonder where one can get that stuff?" He said "Google it."

Well, yeah. Why didn't I think of that. So I Googled and found recipes for floral preserver, and the why's and how's of them working. So, you remember those lilacs I showed you the other day? I tried one of the recipes on it, and darn if it isn't working! They are still looking fabulous! In fact, they are opening up and looking better and better. I've added some Bleeding Heart and Crabapple blooms for a bit more color.

The recipe I used is as follows:

1 quart warm water
2 tbl spoons white vinegar
2 tbl spoons sugar
1/2 tsp household bleach.

Mix it up and put the flowers in it, cutting a bit of the stems off first to get rid of the air bubbles that have formed at the bottom of the stems. It is recommended you replace this mixture every couple days to make the flowers really last.

So, what is the purpose of those ingredients?

Sugar is food for the plant. The flowers die due to lack of food. I guess they have a sweet tooth.

Vinegar is to make the water more acidic so it matches the cell sap in the stems. It stabilizes the color of the flowers too.

Bleach is to prevent bacterial and fungal growth so it can't get into the stems and block the water flowing up.

You start with warm water because it helps the mixture move up the stems quicker. I've also read that you should not put cut flowers near ripening fruit because it will cause them to deteriorate quicker.

There are other recipes and more info at these two web sites:

Cut Flower Preservative


I am looking forward to the wild flower bounty to be coming soon, assuming it gets warm enough. My big new tomato plants got frosted last night. :-(  They are still viable but man, it's June 10th! Enough already!!!!

Live long and prosper. \\//


  1. You may already be doing it, but another trick with lilacs (or any woody stemmed flower) is to take a hammer to the bottom 4" or so of the stem and smack it hard a few times.

    It exposes the cambium so more water can get up the stem. Apparently woody stems don't do a very good job of it when it's just the end exposed.

    I've never seen a formula with vinegar before; I'll need to try that. That might be the trick, especially given how alkaline our water is!

  2. That's fascinating, I'll try that. I often find that store bought flowers grow mold in the vase after a few days ... interesting about the bleach!