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How to Make Flowers Last Longer in a Vase – Vinegar for Flowers

Are you tired of your fresh flowers wilting after just a few days? Do you want to know the secret of how to make flowers last longer in a vase? Look no further than vinegar for flowers!

Using vinegar in flower water can help you keep your cut flowers looking fresh and vibrant for several days longer than they would without it. Adding vinegar to flower water helps to prevent bacterial growth, which is often the culprit behind wilting flowers.

We will show you how to keep flowers fresh in a vase using vinegar alone as well as with sugar. 

Keep reading to unlock the power of vinegar and discover some surprising benefits of it for your flower garden.

Vase of white tulips with vinegar and sugar in bowl and decanter.


Displaying cut flowers brings my beautiful garden into my home, but it can be frustrating when the flowers wilt and die after just a few days indoors.

Fortunately, there is a cost-effective, natural and easy way to help fresh flowers last longer – household vinegar!

Why does vinegar in flower water keep flowers fresher?

Vinegar is a household item that has many uses both indoors the home, and outside in the garden, but did you know that it can be a game-changer in the world of flower care?

As soon as flowers are cut, the natural process of decay begins. This can lead to the growth of bacteria and fungi in the water.

This bacterial growth can clog the stems and prevent the flowers from absorbing water and nutrients, causing them to wilt and die prematurely.

Using vinegar in flower water can help to make cut flowers last longer by preventing the growth of bacteria in the water. The acetic acid in vinegar acts as a natural disinfectant, which will kill any bacteria that may be present in the water.

By preventing this bacterial growth, the stems of the flowers can absorb water and nutrients more easily, helping them to stay fresh longer.

Irises and tulips in vases with vinegar and words For acidic ph flowers use vinegar.

Using vinegar to prolong the life of flowers works with flowers that enjoy an acidic environment, since adding vinegar to the water lowers the pH level. Some popular cut flowers that like an acidic environment are:

Vinegar and the pH level of flowers

While many popular cut flowers thrive in the slightly acidic environment created by adding vinegar to flower water, there are some types of flowers that actually prefer an alkaline environment.

Carnations and snapdragons with baking soda and words For alkaline pH flowers use baking soda.

For flowers like this, adding vinegar to the flower water may actually have the opposite effect and harm them. These flowers include:

For alkaline loving flowers, lime or baking soda, instead of vinegar, can help to create the alkaline environment in your flower water and help to revive your cut flowers.

However, before adding anything to your flower water to extend the life of your cut flowers, it’s a good idea to research the specific needs of your flower variety.

Since too much alkalinity can be harmful to some flowers, it’s important to strike the right balance. 

How to keep flowers fresh with vinegar

If you’re tired of your cut flowers wilting before their time, this technique can help you keep them looking fresh and beautiful for days to come.

Using vinegar in flower water is a simple and easy process. Here’s how to do it:

Use a clean vase

Choose a clean vase that is large enough to comfortably hold all of  your flowers. Fill it with fresh, cool water.

Add sugar and vinegar for flowers

Add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar and 1 tablespoon of sugar to the vase of water.

The reason for the sugar is to add some extra food for the flowers. If you only add vinegar you will make the water more acidic which will help to kill any bacteria but it will not add nutrients.

Adding vinegar and sugar to flowers in a vase.

I have tried using vinegar on its own, and also have used a combination of vinegar and sugar for flowers. I quickly learned that the two together give me an extra few days of  life for the flowers.

Stir the water and vinegar mixture gently to ensure that the vinegar and sugar are evenly distributed.

Adding flowers to your vinegar water

Trim the stems of your flowers at an angle. This will allow the flowers to absorb more water.

Woman cutting the stems of a white tulip on an angle.

Remove any leaves that will be below the water line since leaving them will lead to growth of bacteria. Immediately place the flowers in the vase filled with the water, sugar and vinegar mixture.

Display the vase of flowers in a cool, dry location away from direct sunlight and heat. Also keep the vase away from fruit or vegetables, since the ethylene gas they emit can cause the flowers to wilt more quickly.

Change the water often

Change the water and vinegar mixture every 2-3 days. When you do this, remember to trim the stems again and add fresh water, sugar and vinegar each time.

This will help to keep the water clean and fresh and prevent bacterial growth.

By following these simple steps, you can use vinegar to keep your cut flowers looking fresh and beautiful for days longer that flowers in plain water.

Is it okay to use apple cider vinegar for flowers?

Both white vinegar and apple cider vinegar will work to prolong flower life. Personally, I don’t like the extra smell of apple cider vinegar, since it clashes with the smell of the flowers.

The choice is yours, though.

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Vase of white tulips with words Keep Flowers Fresh with Vinegar.

Admin note: this post for using vinegar with flowers first appeared on the blog in April of 2013. I have updated the post to add all new photos, and a video for you to enjoy.

Yield: Happy flowers

Keeping Flowers Fresh with Vinegar

cut flowers

Using vinegar in flower water can help to prevent bacteria growth and keep the water clean, which can help to extend the life of your flowers.

So, if you're tired of your cut flowers wilting before their time, learn how to use this homemade flower food with vinegar which can help to keep them looking fresh and beautiful for days to come.

Active Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Difficulty easy
Estimated Cost $1


  • Cool, fresh water
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of white vinegar
  • Fresh flowers


  • Vase


  1. Choose a vase that will comfortably fit all of your flowers.
  2. Fill it with cool, fresh water.
  3. Stir in the vinegar and sugar and mix well.
  4. Cut the stems of the flowers on an angle and remove any leaves that would sit below the water line.
  5. Place the flowers in the vase and display away from sunlight and heat.
  6. Replace the water and vinegar/sugar mixture every 2-3 days.


Note: Adding vinegar to the water is useful for flowers that like an acidic pH such as roses, tulips, hydrangeas and others. Research your flower variety to see if it likes acidity.

Some flowers prefer an alkaline pH and can be harmed if vinegar is added to their water.

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Bruno Borer

Friday 24th of May 2019

Work for a floral products company that supplies retailers with cut flowers. Started adding white vinegar to the floral solution. So far the results seem good. The vinegar increases the acidity of the water and retards the growth of bacteria. Even after a week the water remains clear, odorless and the flowers look better than they have after spending a week in the solution without vinegar. Safer than bleach. Wondering if there would be even more benefits by adding apple cider vinegar to cut flowers...?


Friday 24th of May 2019

Hi Bruno, I don't think it would make any additional difference to add the apple cider vinegar.

Jack Titchener

Monday 23rd of October 2017

I never knew you could use white vinegar to get your flowers to last longer. I have been thinking about sending my wife flowers everyday this month since it is our aniversary. I'll have to consider picking up some vinegar so that they can last longer.


Friday 24th of April 2015

This is very informative, I wish i can apply this useful tips for my cut flowers at home. Thanks for sharing tips.


Thursday 25th of September 2014

Bring 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar to a brisk boil on stove with lid on pan then turn it off and remove lid and cover mouth with hand and inhale through nose to relieve sinus headaches.


Thursday 25th of September 2014

Great tip. Thanks for sharing it Bobbi! Carol


Saturday 20th of April 2013

Run a load of clothes with white vinegar to freshen washing machine.

Sunday 21st of April 2013

Great tip McCatherine. Thanks for sharing.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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