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Homemade Flower Food

Posted By Suzanne McMinn On June 24, 2010 @ 1:05 am In The Country Garden,Tips & Ideas | 18 Comments


I used to make my own flower food all the time, but haven’t lately–out of some combination of forgetfulness and laziness. I was reminded of it the other day when I was watching the Martha Stewart show and she was making a vat of flower food. Okay, not a vat exactly, but she was making two gallon batches and demonstrating how she stores it in a water cooler for convenient dispensing.


I was thinking I hope she has that labelled! Because it looks like water and her recipe uses bleach.

I’ve never made vats of flower food–it’s not really necessary. It’s so simple and quick to make as needed–if you aren’t being forgetful and lazy. With cutting flower season in full swing, both for wildflowers and garden-grown, it’s a good time to develop the habit of keeping your cut flowers fresh so they last longer.

I’m not sure why I watch Martha Stewart sometimes, by the way. She’s mildly addicting, in a bizarre way. I mean, who would do the stuff she does? Then I looked at my kitchen–I have a big pot of fresh milk ready to start some cheddar. A wheel of cheddar waiting on the counter to be waxed. The steam juicer (I’m in love with this thing!) just pumped out six quarts of apricot juice I’m going to turn into jelly, syrup, glazes, and sauces. There’s a couple dozen fresh eggs in a basket waiting to be washed. Maybe those of us who do those sorts of things have something in common with Martha, after all. We’re just a little more practical about it.

Well, if you call six quarts of apricot juice practical. I hope everybody on my Christmas list doesn’t mind getting apricot jelly this year.

Anyway! Back to flower power!


How to make Homemade Flower Food:

Per quart of water

2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons of one of the following–lemon juice, or vinegar

Stir to mix well and dissolve sugar then pour into the vase, or mix it straight in the container where you’ll be placing the flowers. You can measure to be exact, or just eyeball it. If your vase is smaller or larger, adjust your quantities to match.

My favorite new (old) flower vase–a vintage half-gallon blue Ball Mason jar.

The sugar is the food for the flowers. The lemon juice or vinegar is used to keep the flower water fresh and free of bacteria. An old-fashioned method for keeping flowers fresh was to drop a copper penny in the water. (Copper is a fungicide.) People also used to (and sometimes still do) drop an aspirin in the water for the same reason. I like to use a little lemon juice and vinegar. The point is to add something anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and/or acidic to the water to keep it fresh. Use whatever you have on-hand. I’ve even heard of people using lime soda. You could also use citric acid crystals. Whatever you have!

By the way, Martha uses corn syrup instead of sugar. (Plain sugar is cheaper.)

A few more tips for keeping flowers fresh longer:

Put flowers in cold water, not warm. Also, be sure to remove all the excess foliage below the water line to reduce the risk of rotting foliage in the water. If the vase water gets cloudy, replace it with fresh flower food water. If you got your flowers from the store, be sure to give them a fresh cut, at an angle, when you get them home, and cut them under water.

So get your flower power on. But if you make a vat of this like Martha and use bleach, promise me you’ll label it!


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