2. Prep fresh flowers correctly
We know we're meant to trim the ends of the stems before we put flowers in the vase, but did you know that using scissors can actually damage them? Instead, use a sharp, non-serrated knife or gardening snips/secateurs to cut around 3cm off the bottom of the stems at a 45-degree angle.
Also remove any leaves that will sit below the waterline, as this can breed bacteria – which can deal a fatal blow to your blooms.
Continue to check your flowers daily and remove any dead or loose leaves and petals, which could cause bacterial rot.
3. Give fresh flowers something to eat
Seriously! A teaspoon of sugar added to the water in the vase essentially feeds the flowers, helping nourish the blooms so that they stay looking fresh for longer.
Alternatively, try adding around 1/4 cup lemonade to the water for the same effect.
However, as well as nourishing the flowers, the sugar feeds bacteria, which can not only make the water go cloudy, but also speed up the demise of your blooms. Luckily, there are plenty of handy household additives you can use to combat this.
4. Add some bleach
While the idea of adding bleach to flower water might sound counterintuitive, a couple of drops added to the vase can help keep your floral displays alive for longer.
The bleach helps kill off any bacteria in the water, the flower stems or your vase, and also prevents the water from turning cloudy (a bonus when you're using a glass vase).
You only need a small amount – just a few drops, or 1/4 teaspoon of bleach for in 1 litre of water.
5. Try apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar in the flower water also acts as an effective antibacterial agent and works to balance the pH balance of the environment.
Mix 2 tablespoons of vinegar with 2 tablespoons of sugar and add to the vase with water before adding your flowers.
6. Top up with vodka
The clear spirit is yet another option to help minimise the growth of bacteria in the flower water, as well as providing the flowers the nourishment they would've received had they not been cut.
Add a few drops of vodka (or any clear spirit you have on hand) to the water, along with that all-important teaspoon of sugar.
7. Drop in an aspirin
As well as sorting out your headache, aspirin is thought to lower the pH level of the water – plus, the salicylic acid in the over-the-counter medication will help keep the water clean and free of flower-damaging bacteria.
Crush 1 aspirin with the back of a spoon and mix the powder into the water in your vase before adding your flowers.
8. Change the water regularly
Even with all those mix-ins, it's still important to freshen up the water in the vase regularly if you want to keep your flowers alive for longer.
Change the water every second day, using room-temperature H2O, and give the vase a good clean with dishwashing liquid to remove any bacteria before refilling. Don't forget to add new sugar and any other additives you're using for longevity.
9. Spritz the petals
A tip from home and garden queen Martha Stewart is nothing to sniff at!
"In addition to their stems, flowers also drink through their petals," she writes on her website.
"If you keep a mister bottle full of water handy, you can give them a quick spray whenever you walk by."
10. Refrigerate fresh flowers overnight
There's a reason florists keep their flowers in a refrigerated space, and a lot of anecdotal evidence to suggest that flowers thrive in a cool environment. The lower temperatures slowing down the ageing process – especially in summer, when the mercury soars.
Simply place your flowers, still in the vase, into the fridge before bed each night and let them chill out for six to eight hours, then put them on display again in the morning.
11. Tips for roses
Delicate roses will benefit from the same tips as other flowers, but there are a few special steps you can take to show the classic blooms some extra love.
When prepping your roses for display, remove the guard petals – the two or three outermost petals of the flower. This will allow the blooms to fully open.
When putting roses in the fridge, check that the temperature is set below 4.4 degrees Celsius and remove any fruit from the fridge. Fruit releases gases that can promote bacteria growth and may deteriorate the roses. Be sure to leave them for at least six hours to give them time to absorb the water.
12. Tips for when fresh flowers are a gift
Keep in mind, cut flowers won't last long without water, so if you're giving them as a gift and have to buy them hours, or even the day before you'll be passing them on, be sure to get them into a little water asap. You don't need much – just enough water to cover the bottoms of the stems.
If you'll be holding onto the bunch for a little while (say, overnight), remove the wrapping and give the stems a little bit of maintenance – trim and remove excess leaves (and guard petals on roses). Then into the water and into the fridge to stay fresh for as long as possible. If you want to preserve the flowers, why not dry them out?