1. If your flowers didn’t arrive in a vase, find one that’s tall enough and rinse the dust from it, or wash it thoroughly and then rinse well. This seems simplistic, but a clean vase or container really does contribute to a longer-lasting bouquet.
2. Fill the vase about one-half full with lukewarm (never cold) water.
3. Mix the little packet of floral preservative that came with the flowers with the water. (It may also be labeled “flower food.”) If your flowers didn’t come with any, make your own. Here’s a simple formula from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden: 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon liquid bleach (Clorox), and 2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice mixed in 2 quarts of lukewarm water.
Michigan State recommends another homemade concoction that will extend the life of your flowers: “To 1 gallon of water, add 2 tablespoons of vinegar and 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar. Or, combine equal parts of lemon-lime soft drink (not diet) and water. Flowers in a preservative solution will last about twice as long as those in plain water.”