How to make cut flowers last longer

GIVEAWAY: Win a copy of Gregory Milner's Flowers

GIVEAWAY: Cut flowers; no problems.

GIVEAWAY: Cut flowers; no problems.


Top florist Gregory Milner shares his DIY flower preservative you can make at home.


FLOWERS: growing them, caring for them so they last longer, and arranging them ... award-winning florist Gregory Milner shares his tips in the re-launched book, Flowers.

The perfect guide for all lovers of flowers (including keen gardeners) the book includes an A-Z dictionary of more than 200 cut flowers.

It also shows you how to grow the best flowers, select the best cut flowers and arrange them like a professional.

Milner is considered one of Australia's most respected and admired florists and educators and was inducted into the Floristry Hall of Fame in 1999.

Here he shares his tips from the book on making a homemade preservative and a conditioning solution that will make your beautiful flowers last even longer at home.

How to make your own preservative

Cut flowers are enjoyed around the world as a visual source of beauty and pleasure and a wonder of nature. They play an important role in cultural ceremonies and social expression, and are given as tokens of love, friendship, apology, condolence and celebration.

Whether cut from the home garden or purchased commercially, all flowers need to be handled and treated carefully to ensure that they last for their maximum life span.

Preservatives help your flowers to stay fresher for long. This do-it-yourself preservative recipe is friendly to the environment and can be used as grey water for the garden.

Here is an easy recipe to make your own preservative.

Preservative recipe

  • 5ml (1 teaspoon) of citric acid or vinegar
  • 4g (3/4 teaspoon) of slow release chlorine
  • (from florists' suppliers or pool shops)
  • 5g (1 teaspoon) of sugar
  • 5 litres of water

Mix all the ingredients together and use it as your vase water (do not add to existing vase water).

If flowers have been out of water for a while, it's a good idea to stand them in a conditioning solution before you recut the stems and put them into a vase.

Conditioning solution recipe

  • 1.25 ml (1/4 teaspoon) of citric acid or white
  • vinegar
  • 1/4 capful of bleach
  • 5 litres of warm water

Do not use sugar at this stage. Leave the flower stems in the conditioning solution for up to 24 hours, then recut and place them in a vase with clean water and preservative.

The Senior has a copy of Flowers by Gregory Milner (Woodslane Press) RRP $39.99 to give away. To enter, simply fill in the form below.