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How To Make Your Own Christmas Tree or Floral Preservative

Homemade Christmas Tree Food


Keep your tree alive by using a tree preservative.

Keep your tree alive by adding a preservative to its water that you can make yourself using common household ingredients.

Martin Poole, Getty Images

Christmas tree preservatives and cut flower preservatives contain the same ingredients: a food source for the plant, an acidifier (hard water is alkaline - making the water more acidic helps the plant take in water and food), and a disinfectant to prevent mold, fungi, and algae from growing.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: Minutes

What You Need:

  • 1 gallon water
  • 2 cups light corn syrup
  • 4 teaspoons chlorine bleach
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice or vinegar (optional)

Here's How:

  1. Nothing could be easier: mix the ingredients together and keep the solution in the base for the Christmas tree or vase, for cut flowers. Both trees and flowers will last longer in cooler areas away from direct sunlight.
  2. Make sure the tree or flower always has 'water'. Regularly refill the vase or the base where the tree sits. In addition, you may wish to spritz the tree or flowers periodicially with water from a spray bottle.
  3. You can store the solution for 4-5 days at room temperature in a closed container, or two weeks refrigerated.


  1. Do Not Drink! If you plan on making enough tree or cut flower preservative to store, label your container and keep it out of reach of children and pets.
  2. Bleach and vinegar produce toxic vapors when mixed. If you add vinegar or lemon juice, add it to the water rather than mix it directly with the bleach. It's okay to use bleach without the lemon juice or vinegar, if this worries you.
  3. If you don't have corn syrup, you can substitute 4 teaspoons of sugar, dissolved in the water. Some people add a penny to a sugar solution, so that the copper can act as a fungicide and acidifier.
  4. Another common option is to substitute a can of acidic soft drink, like Sprite or 7-Up, instead of the corn syrup and lemon juice. Just add a can of (non-diet) soft drink to a gallon of water, with a splash of bleach.
  5. For flowers, you'll probably want to cut the recipe: 1 quart water, 1/2 c. corn syrup, 1 tsp. bleach, 1 tsp. lemon juice

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