Does salt prolong the life of a cut flower?
No, most plants can be damaged or killed by salt.
To keep cut flowers fresh longer, you can try several things
with household products such as:
* Put two teaspoons of sugar and 3 drops of chlorine bleach per
quart of cool water to use in the cut flower vase. * Use the bleach
only, in same proportions with cool water. * Mix 7-up (or Sprite or
similar clear carbonated drink) in the water; about 1/8 cup per
quart of water. * Drop an aspirin along with two teaspoons of sugar
in a quart of water. The purpose of these additives to the water is
to provide some 'food' for the flowers (sugar or soft drink
sugars--use regular and not diet soda) and something to inhibit
bacterial growth (bleach or acids such as provided by the aspirin
and the carbonated drinks.)
Other important (perhaps more important than additives) steps to
take include keeping the water fresh by changing it daily.
keep the flowers out of direct sun and in a cooler part of the
Before arranging the flowers, cut off any leaves that will be
below the level of the water in the vase, leaves or other debris in
the water will hasten the degradation of the water (rot,
decomposition) and allow bacteria to grow and in turn cause the
flower stems to begin to degrade and not be able to "absorb" water
any more. Also keep only as many leaves as needed for a nice
arrangement attached to the flowers, extra greenery left on the
stems will rob the flowers of water and nutrients and make them
To prepare the stems for arranging, cut the ends at an angle so
they do not rest flat on the bottom of the vase. Angled ends allow
better transfer of the water up the stems. Use a very clean and
sharp knife to make a clean cut diagonally across the ends. Ideal
is to cut the stems under water to keep the saps from thickening
and clogging the water transfer up the stems, and to prevent a
bolus of air from entering the ends affecting the capillary action.
If unable to cut the stems under water, as soon as the ends are
cut, immediately put them in water, do not delay that process.
Recut the stem ends each day when changing the water to keep the
ends open and not 'sealed'.
If the flowers have a woody consistency to the stems such as
roses, pussy willow, and forsythia, the capillary action will be
improved if you gently smash the very tip ends to open them into
shredded fibers. I whack them with the clean bottom of a saucepan
or use the flat side of a kitchen meat tenderizing "hammer".
There are also some flowers that don't do well sharing vases
with other flowers. For example, tulips and some other flowers from
bulbs can ooze saps that damage other flower stems, they are best
displayed in their own vase. Sunflowers can also create this kind
of problem with other flowers.
Finally, to repeat, change the water daily and even if that is
the only thing you do, you should see a noticeable increase in the
life of the cut flowers.