Old wives tales about flower care, which to avoid and which to follow

Over our years operating as a florist, we heard it all, that you should add lemonade to your water for flowers, bleach, pennies, bicarbonate soda and more, but before you start adding pennies to the water your flowers are displayed in, take a look at our myth-busting guide of old wives tales to look after your flowers.

Myth 1 – Putting pennies in the water

Putting pennies in the water your flowers are in is an old wives tale as old as time and it appears to originate from the idea that because copper is a fungicide, adding a penny to the vase will help remove bacteria from the water. This, unfortunately, is definitely not true and won’t help vase life, if anything it will hinder vase life by actually bringing bacteria into the water and causing stems to wilt so we definitely don’t recommend this one.

Myth 2 – Adding lemonade to the water

Myth number two is one we have heard frequently and that is that you should add lemonade to the water your flowers are in, which absolutely doesn’t work. The logic behind this seems to come from the idea that there is sugar in the lemonade and there is sugar in flower food, however without the bleach which flower food provides, bacteria will thrive on this sugar which will cause stems to rot. Carbonated lemonade such as Sprite or 7Up also has a lot of bubbles in which will clog the stems and prevent water from travelling through them so this myth is absolutely false.

Myth 3 – Pouring vodka in the water

This one is less common, but we still do get asked from time to time if people should put vodka in their flower vase and the answer is definitely not. The idea behind this old wives tale was that it preserves flowers by inhibiting ethylene production which will, as a result, inhibit wilting. This is untrue though unfortunately and will not help the longevity of vase life because it doesn’t include any energy sources for the flowers or antibacterial product.

Myth 4 – Adding aspirin to the water

The idea is adding one crushed aspirin to a vase of fresh flowers seems absurd but can be traced back to the idea that aspirin is said to lower the pH level of eater allowing it to travel through the stems of the flower faster and prolonging vase life. Unfortunately though, like many of the other old wives tales on this list, this one us untrue and there is no evidence it will work.

Myth 5 – Keeping flowers away from fruit or vegetables

This myth is actually completely true and as strange and made up as it sounds is actually something we recommend for our customers to follow. The science behind this is that ripening fruit and vegetables release ethylene gas as they ripen which poisons cut flowers causing wilting and browning. To avoid this, cut flowers should be kept away from fruit or vegetables of any kind and should be stored in a cool dry place.

Myth 6 – Storing flowers in direct sunlight

It is a very popular belief that cut flowers should be placed in direct sunlight since this is the way they are grown, however, while this is good for flowers in the ground, for cut flowers it actually causes wilting. This is because cut flowers should be kept away from heat sources as heat sources cause them to release more water than they can take in through their stems which causes wilting. To avoid this, flowers should be displayed in a dry cool place away from direct sunlight or heat sources.

For more advice from our expert florists on how to care for your flowers and prolong vase life, take a look at our flower care guide.

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