I love the look and smell of fresh flowers. In the throes of winter, a colorful bouquet can really light up a room and give my mood an instant boost. That’s hard to get when it’s so gloomy out! But my elation doesn’t last long, as fresh flowers start to wilt way too quickly for my liking. Luckily, now I know exactly how to make flowers last longer with a simple and genius hack.
What causes flowers to wilt?
Just like shooting stars, fresh flowers often burn fast and bright. Within a few days, the petals start to wilt and lose their color and shape. That’s because they flowers actually start dying from the moment they’re snipped from their stems. Once they stems are cut, they lose connection to the roots, which is the flower’s main source of nutrients. That’s why you’ll often get a little packet of ‘flower food’ to swirl into the water before placing them in a vase.
But flower food is often not enough. Next time, try this boozy trick to make you flowers last longer.
How do you keep fresh flowers from dying?
The simple answer is: Vodka. No, we’re not kidding! The biting booze not only helps kill bacteria but helps replenish the nutrients lost from being cut off at the roots.
“Adding a teaspoon of vodka to your plant water actually helps with the plant’s overall health,” Chris Bonnett, founder of GardeningExpress.co.uk, told HuffPost UK. “A lot of people will probably find this surprising, but the vodka acts as an antibacterial agent, meaning that it kills bacteria on the stems and promotes growth and a healthy plant overall.”
Once you add the vodka, make sure you remove any lower leaves that could leak bacteria into the water as they wilt. Next, you should consider where to display your flowers. While they might look beautiful next to a sunny window, it’s not the best place for them to thrive.
“Another thing to do is to keep your flowers cool. Of course they need sunlight, but sometimes people take this too far,” Bonnett said. “Avoid keeping flowers in places like the kitchen, where there may be heat from cooking and try picking a cooler location.”
Make a night of it and have some vodka alongside your fresh stems, we won’t judge!
This article originally appeared on our sister site, First for Women.