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DIY Fresh Cut Flower Food Recipes & Tips

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Want the secret to keeping your bouquets fresh for weeks after your flowers arrive? Try these DIY Cut Flower Food Recipes & Tips for homemade flower food solutions. Want more flower ideas? Try my Floral page for how to oven-dry flowers, seasonal wreaths, and more!

Fresh Cut Flower Food Recipes

I love getting flowers! The bouquet shown above is my Valentine’s Day flowers from my husband! They are 10 days old and going strong.

How did I make them last so long? Well, before I went to floral design school I would of just let them die and toss them out. Who knew you could make them last for a few weeks by changing the water, removing leaves, and using this flower food DIY recipe!

DIY Cut Flower Food Recipes, natural flower food, food for roses in a vase

The bouquet above is from the Publix grocery store. The flowers my husband bought online and had delivered were a disaster, so we got our money back and headed to the grocery store.

This bouquet was a quarter of the price of the other one we ordered and it lasted seven days longer than the traditional flower shop bouquet. Poor guy has a floral designer as a wife, who is picky about her flowers, he can’t win, lol.

I really like the flowers that come in a box that you can arrange yourself. When I buy the flowers this way they are in much better shape than store-bought and last a bit longer as well. The one issue with them is they are not arranged when they come this way and can look unpolished.

Tips I learned to Keep Flowers Fresh For Weeks

  1. Cut the stems properly and remove dead leaves.
  2. Add Flower food to the water
  3. Change the water, re-cut stems, and add new flower food.

Prep the Bouquet before Adding Food

  1. If you receive your bouquet in a box from a mail order company, keep the box cool until you can prepare the flowers.
  2. One of the first things you do when you get a bouquet home is to remove the rubber bands and trim the stems.
  3. Remove lower leaves and any dead leaves from the bottom of the stems. Any leaves sitting in the waterline of your vase will cause mold/fungi to grow and infect the water and your flowers.
  4. Lay a flower on a cutting board, with a sharp knife, cut the stems 1-2 inches from the end of the stems at a slant, place the flower in water immediately. This opens the stem to receive the flower food and water.
trim flowers before adding homemade flower food,

After a flower has been out of water for some time the stem will seal shut, trimming the end off of the stem again will open it up again. Repeat cutting the stems with all your flowers.

TIPS: It is best to do the end trimming with a sharp knife instead of scissors. Scissors will crush the bottom of the stem when they close and makes it harder for the stem to soak up the water

Tip: Even if my flowers arrive in a vase of water, I still take them out re-cut the stems, and remove the waterline and lower leaves.

Store-bought bouquets usually come with a flower food packet attached to them. If you did not get one, here are some easy ways to make your own homemade flower food or DIY cut flower food.

3 DIY Flower Food Recipes for Cut Flowers

Apple Cider Vinegar + Sugar

Homemade flower food without bleach.

Add both vinegar and sugar to the water in the plant vase and stir. Add your bouquet. The vinegar will kill the bacteria and fungi so your flowers will thrive.

Lemon Lime Soda

Another DIY flower food without bleach alternative.

  • One part Lemon-Lime Soda {Do not use Diet or other flavored sodas} to 3 parts water.

Add lemon-lime soda and 3 parts water plant vase and stir. Add your bouquet. The soda has the acid and sugar the flowers need to survive.

Lemon Juice + Liquid Bleach

Add both liquid bleach, lemon juice, and sugar to the water in the plant vase and stir. Add your bouquet.

You can also just add 1/4 teaspoon of bleach by itself per 1 liter of water. Bleach may sound extreme but it kills bacteria and fungi!

How to Make Flowers Stay Fresh Longer

Changing the Water and feeding the Bouquet:

  1. Change the water and add new flower food solution every 3-4 days or if the water starts looking cloudy.
  2. Throw out any dead or shedding flowers.
  3. Re-cut stems and add more of the food solution.

If your fresh flowers come in floral foam make sure you keep the foam soaked with water and flower food.

Keep the bouquets in a cool area, around 72 degrees. Keep away from heat sources and direct sunlight.

Keep in mind most florists keep flowers refrigerated until they are delivered. Flowers last longer under cooler conditions.

pink roses, how to make flower food

I hope this post and recipe for DIY flower food has answered your burning questions about how to prep flowers for a bouquet to make them last longer. They are a sure way to help you extend the life of your next bouquet and keep the flowers fresh!

No time to make flower food? Grab some of my flower favs here!




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 Cut Flower Food Recipes


  1. The tip about adding bleach and lemon is something new for me. I will give it a try. Thank you for the tips.

  2. By bleach so you mean something like Clorox? Even a tea spoon has a strong smell. So I was thinking can We mix and match from these two plant food recipes, for example using lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and sugar instead of bleach?

    1. Hi Tarek,
      Yes, I mean Clorox. You only need to do one of the three remedies, so use the apple cider vinegar and sugar if you do not want to smell bleach. You would use 1/4 teaspoon of bleach per liter or 3 drops of bleach with the lemon and sugar mix.

  3. Hi Kim,
    I am doing a science project on flower foods and was wondering which store-bought plant foods you would recommend.

    1. Honestly, the only one I have used is Miracle Grow and the packets that come with the store bought flowers. I hope this helps!

  4. Hi Kim, thanks for the tips, but my question is how much water that I must use with those recipes? For example, those recipes is for 2 liters of water, so if I use 1 liter of water it can be I must use half of the suggested recipes?

    Can’t wait for your answer.



    1. Hi Rudi,
      I’ve used these recipes for a large vase, around 1 quart (4 cups) of water, so if you are using small vases I would cut the recipe down. As long as there is some of the solution to add acidity/sugar it should work to keep them fresh.

  5. Does this work with Tulips too?

    1. Hi Victoria,
      I am sure it works for all cut flowers.

  6. Do you use part or all of the flower food in a vase alone or with say half plain water?



    1. Hi Cathy,
      Mix the flower food in with the water. Just like you would with the packets you get sometimes that come with bouquets.

  7. John Martin says:

    I have a lot of old cut flower sachets – can I use them when watering the flowers in the garden?

    1. Hi John, If they are old they may not work anymore. I think you should use a flower food for growing plants in your garden. My recipes and tips are for cut flowers. Good Question though. Thanks for reading.

  8. The flowers looks fantastic still I must try your recipe – ‘Thanks for linking up to Pin Worthy Wednesday, I have pinned your post to the Pin Worthy Wednesday Pinterest Board.

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