flowers last longer

Scientific Ways to Make Cut Flowers Last Longer

By Anupum Pant

Suppose, someone gives you a beautiful bouquet, celebrating a very important day of your’s, say your 50th wedding anniversary – A rare event these days. Wouldn’t it make you happier if these precious flowers last longer, even if it is just “slightly longer”? If you are a person like me who is easily moved, seeing flowers last longer would certainly make you happier!

Here are a few simple scientifically proven ways you could try that would make your cut flowers last slightly longer.

Sprite or 7-Up

Well, to make a flower last for about 3 days,  of course you could cut off an inch of the stem, clean it and put it in plain water. But there is also a little addition you can do to the water to keep them blooming for a few more days.

Add some amount of sprite or 7-Up to the water. Yes, that’s it. I know, some would consider it an urban legend or a forwarded email story, trust me, it actually works.

How much, that you’ll have to see what works best. Still, half a glass of soft-drink added to half glass of water works pretty well.1:1 or even 1:2 ratio of sprite: water is fine. This is how it works:

Science: Since plants can’t make food for themselves once they are separated from their roots, they depend on the little nutrition the environment can give them. So, when you add sprite or 7-Up to the water, it makes the water sweeter, and sugar is food for the plant! That explains the sweet part, but couldn’t you just add sugar? You could, but…

The other thing about these aerated drinks is that they are slightly acidic due to the presence of dissolved carbon dioxide. This acidic nature makes it easier for the water move up the stem. That is the reason just sweet water won’t work that well, while sprite would!

The Catch
While the sweet mixture is good, sweet and slightly acidic water is also the best place for bacteria to develop. So, that is the other thing you need to take care of. For that, add a little amount of bleach to the water. That’ll kill the bacteria and wouldn’t harm the flowers.

Vodka + Water

Yes, vodka works too. However, the mechanism vodka uses to keep plants straight for longer, is slightly different from what soda water uses. This is how Vodka water works.

Science: Plants release a gas called ethylene – a ripening gas. This gas helps them mature. Vodka works by inhibiting the ethylene production in plants.

But to achieve this, you have to add just a little amount of it to the water – about 3-5 ml of vodka to half a litre of water. Do not over do it, or your flower will be caught for diving drunk.


I think, I don’t have to tell you here what the magic-blue-pill is actually used for. What I can tell you is, it also keeps cut flowers from going limp too soon.

A pill crushed and added to 2 glasses of water will help your flowers stay straight for longer than any one of the tricks above. Agreed, they’ll start turning brown, but they’ll stand straight.

This science project clearly demonstrates the fact.

I don’t know if someone has tested flowers in vegetable stock. Although I’m not too sure about it, I think that could work too.

Vaseline (maybe)

Now, a couple of months back, I saw a Vaseline (petroleum jelly) ad on YouTube, where 2 plant leaves – one smeared with Vaseline and the other one plain – were used to demonstrate how Vaseline keeps the moisture trapped. The advertisement showed that the one smeared with Vaseline lasted longer. I decided to test it.

I repeated the same experiment at home. In the image below (6th day), you can see how Vaseline actually worked. Firstly, it made my leaf shinier. Secondly, even till the 6th day, the leaf smeared with Vaseline was all lush green.

day 7 vaseline test
Day 6 Vaseline test. Left: without Vaseline. Right: With Vaseline

Clearly, Vaseline wins. It definitely keeps the leaf green for about 7-8 days (if smeared properly and left untouched). Someone could try that with flowers too. I’m certain it would work.

[Amateur experiment Google doc]

What would work best?

To that I’d say, try three things together. Viagra + Sprite in water and also smear the whole stem and flower with Vaseline. That should make it last for at least 7 days – is my guess.

Try it out and share the results.

Hit like if you learnt something today.

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