I love having fresh flowers at home, and I’m lucky enough to live steps away from a few irresistible florists. This means that we stock up on a bouquet almost every other week. So, when I learned about this TikTok trend to keep your flowers fresh for a month, I was curious to find out: does it really work?
Spoiler alert: sort of, but I’m not sure it’s worth it. Read on for my experience trying out this hack and updates on my bouquet week after week.
How the Hack Works
According to the videos, the secret is three-fold. It requires a bit more work than my usual approach: trimming the stems, plonking the bouquet in a vase full of cold water, adding the accompanying packet of flower food, and enjoying my blooms until it's time to toss the whole thing out.
According to this hack, when you first bring your flowers home, you trim the stems as normal, fill a vase with water, and add a scoop of sugar. Then, every other day for a month (or until the flowers die), you:
- Trim the stems of your bouquet
- Change the water
- Add a scoop of sugar
Normally, and especially in winter, I go for something branchy, seasonal, and slightly wild looking. But this time, in the name of my TikTok experiment, I didn’t want flowers that would need rearranging every other day or that would be tricky to trim. Instead, I went for a simple bouquet of my favorite winter buds: ranunculuses.
Knowing that we might have a whole month together, I picked two small bouquets with the tightest buds.
Discovery #1: Beware of Uneven Stems
When I got home, I realized my first potential mistake—and no, it’s not the fact that I’m going to have to type ‘ranunculus’ a lot for this article. Though, that was also a mistake in hindsight. My first mistake was picking a flower with such delightfully wonky stems.
Unlike something more uniform, like tulips or even roses, these ranunculus stems were all different. Some were long and thin, others were short and thick with lots of little stems sprouting out. I trimmed them all by about a quarter of an inch and wondered what the shorter ones might possibly look like by the end of this experiment.
Then, I took a short, glass vase with a fairly large mouth, filled it with water, and added a scoop of sugar. I placed my flowers next to our kitchen window and added a calendar appointment to remind me of my new task every other day.
Discovery #2: Sugar Water Means Murky Water
On day two, I noticed two things. First, the sugar had turned the water very cloudy. On the other hand, a lot of the white buds had blown open and looked beautiful. I wasn’t sure if the sugar was to thank for this, too, but I made a mental note that on day three when I swapped the water, I’d also swap vases.
Discovery #3: Multiple Vases Are Required
On day three, I did exactly that, picking a porcelain Portmeirion vase. It was taller than my first glass selection, which meant I lost the floppy look of my original arrangement. If I wasn’t going to do this all again on day five, maybe I’d dig out some floral wire or twine to give them a boost. But, I decided to leave them until day five.
Because you’re trimming your stems so regularly, you’ll probably need multiple vase sizes throughout the month—and that’s exactly what happened to me.
Discovery #4: Changing Vases Helps Quality Control
By day five of the experiment, my flowers looked beautiful. Almost all of the tight buds had opened, so the ranunculuses were nearly all in full bloom. The problem, however, was exactly what I expected. Because I had already trimmed the stems three times, there were some pretty short ones that no longer fit in my second vase of the experiment.
Enter: vase number three. Over the next few days, I also noticed that some of the flowers were beginning to die out, and something I realized? If nothing else, this hack is definitely useful for keeping an eye on things. I pulled out the stems that didn’t look as fresh as the others and that kept the rest of the bouquet looking lovely.
Discovery #5: You May Wind Up With Multiple Arrangements
By day eight, the bouquet was smaller, but the flowers looked their best. This definitely felt longer than my bouquets usually last. Usually, they peak around day five and are ready to get tossed by day eight or nine. But as pretty as these blooms looked, would they last another few weeks? That seemed unlikely…
I also noticed that a lot of the smaller offshoots on the larger stems were starting to open, so I trimmed them off and started a new mini arrangement in a smaller bud vase. This felt like a whole new experiment—would any of these buds even open? My seven-year-old, now fully invested, suggested trying chocolate in this vase instead of straight sugar. I declined, but I appreciated her scientific method.
Discovery #6: Things Quickly Turned
Day eight was the peak, but it felt like things went downhill pretty quickly from here. The white flowers started to brown at the edges, and almost all of the smaller stems snapped—clearly not strong enough to hold up their buds, which were doing their best to burst open. There were still enough to keep an arrangement going, though.
By day twelve, one of the white flowers had blown open so wide that its center was revealed. By day eighteen, it was time to call it: almost all of the flowers had reached their limit, and only a few of the smaller offshoot stems had bloomed. I salvaged the final two and let them have their moment.
Did this make the bouquet last longer? Technically, I think so, yes. I tossed my final flower three weeks from the day I bought the bouquet. Was it worth it? I’m not sure.
To be honest, I didn’t love having a new chore on my list every other day. I found the stems slimy and unpleasant to trim, and I was sad that I’d almost instantly lost the wild and rustic look of the bouquet I’d bought. By the end, my daughter said it looked like the bouquet from a wedding—and she wasn’t wrong. The tighter the arrangement got, the more bridal it looked.
Before doing this hack, I would pull out the obviously dead flowers in the name of preserving my bouquets, but this taught me to be a bit more diligent. While I think disassembling the bouquet every other day was overkill, giving my flowers more than a passing glance and trimming off anything that looks droopy or dead is definitely something I’ll do more often moving forward.
As for now, I have about four empty vases that need filling, so it sounds like another trip to my favorite florist is in order.