It’s that time. Your flowers need a little self-care; a water refresh and some nourishing new food to give them some pep. But you’re all out of flower food, and you don’t actually know how to make flower food yourself. Oh dear.
Maybe you’re tempted to skip this step. After all, do flowers really need whatever is in those little sachets? Can’t you just shove some sugar in the water and hope for the best? But, we’re here to tell you, that just like how you need your three-meals-a-day (and snacks) your flowers really do need that food.
We provide two sachets with every arrangement, but – as our flowers tend to last a couple of weeks – it’s understandable that you’ve run out. Luckily, it’s super easy to make your own, with just a few ingredients and your flowers will thank you for it. We can show you how with our precise step-by-step using UK measurements, for a homemade flower food substitute. With just a little TLC, they’ll be revived, looking as beautiful and vibrant as the day they landed on your doorstep.
Why do flowers need flower food?
Cloudy, mucky looking water detracts from your arrangement (and that smell of old flower water really isn’t pleasant…) but it’s also not great for your flowers. Think about it, you don’t want to sit around in a dirty, unhygienic environment and your flowers don’t either. They flourish best in crystal-clear water and flower food’s main job is to keep your vase water as fresh as possible.
It does this by preventing bacteria growth, using a small amount of bleach, to thwart bacteria in its tracks. Without it, microorganisms will build up in the water, block the steams and stop them from drinking up the water (and the other ingredients in your food.)
What are the benefits of using flower food?
Essentially, if you want your flowers to last as long as possible, you need to replace your water every three-days, adding new flower food each time. This stops them from ageing and drooping prematurely, due to a magic combination of three ingredients.
As well as the bleach, which keeps the water sparkling clean (and stops your flowers getting all blocked up) there’s sugar, which gives your flowers a much-needed boost of energy. Finally, a natural acid will balance the pH of the water and help to combat the bacteria. Think of the bleach and acid as the bouncers of your vase water, stopping anything nasty getting in and the sugar as the chef, nourishing and feeding the arrangement.
Can I make flower food myself?
Yes, it’s really easy. You’ll be able to find all the ingredients in your cupboards at home – the acid, sugar and anti-bacterial is all you need. If you need a reminder of them just think of your gin and tonic which contains all the elements. Tonic = sugar, lemon = acid, gin = anti-bacterial. But while you could tip a little of your G&T into your vase, we recommend you keep that for yourself and follow our recipe…
What are the ingredients in flower food?
We’ll tell you about the fun one first. It’s sugar. It’s the main nutrient in your sachets and provides your flowers with energy. When making your own we recommend the standard white sugars which can dissolve in water (so the ones you pop in tea) or some people have been known to use lemonade or tonic water. If you were going to use full-fat only (no diet options) and add in 60ml to your vase water.. The one thing we would advise against is brown sugar or cola, simply as it will make your clean vase look muddy and murky.
Natural acids are found in vinegar and lemon juice, and the injection of a small amount of acid will balance the pH of the water out. We prefer lemon juice as it has added fragrance benefits but some people swear by vinegar. If going down the vinegar route, save the balsamic for your salads and your Sarsons for your chips and go for white only. Brown just won’t be as aesthetically appealing.
You might have heard that it’s useful to put a copper penny into a vase, and there’s some truth to this, as it’s engaging the anti-bacterials of the copper to help flowers last. But, as much as this old trick helps, a little bit of bleach is more powerful. Standard-strength household bleach will do (and, like above, go for a clear liquid over anything with colour… unless you want a soft pink water of course.) Handle it as carefully as you would normally.
How to make your own homemade flower food
1 and ½ teaspoons sugar
1 and ½ teaspoons of bleach
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Combine these three ingredients and add to ½ litre of vase water.
See, we told you it was easy! Give it a try and let us know how you get on. Make sure you adjust measurements depending on the size of the vase and volume of water used.