Flowers are a gorgeous way to decorate your home or celebrate a special occasion, and advice on how to pick and keep these colorful blooms is everywhere you turn. While some of this advice is handy, a fair number of myths masquerading as truth have sprung up amongst the words of wisdom. We’ve weeded out five of the most common misconceptions growing in the world of flowers.

1. Use sugar to keep your flowers fresh

Eventually your arrangement will wilt, but you want it to stay Instagram-ready for as long as possible. Suggestions for keeping your flowers fresh range from the common sense – regularly replace the vase’s water and use the little packet of plant food that comes with the bouquet – to the downright boozy – add a dash of vodka to the vase.

 Adding a spoonful of sugar is a frequently offered piece of advice. If it helps the medicine go down, why wouldn’t it be just as helpful for your flowers? In theory, adding sugar to your flowers’ water gives them ready access to nutrients. But, sugar can also encourage bacterial growth. That unwanted flora can actually hasten the demise of your floral arrangement. It’s best to leave the sugar in the bowl.

If you’re looking for a looking for an alternative to this sweet, but faulty solution, try a dash of bleach or a lucky penny. Bleach discourages the growth of bacteria, while the copper of a penny keeps yeast and fungi away.

2. Flowers are the allergy sufferer’s worst enemy

Pollen and those who have seasonal allergies don’t mix, or so goes the common belief. Just because you fall prey to sneezing and itchy eyes with the change of the seasons doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to a lifetime of fake flowers.

First of all, the culprit behind your constant need for a tissue or allergy pill is most likely pollen from a tree, grass or weed. These pollens are light and tend to stay airborne for longer, while heavier flower pollen falls to the ground.

But, isn’t bringing flowers into your home still a risky move? Not necessarily. Allergy-friendly petals come in a rainbow of different colors, shapes, sizes and scents. Try lilies, hydrangeas or geraniums if you’re worried about your allergies.

3. Don’t sleep with flowers in your bedroom

If you think back to your junior high and high school science class days, you’ll remember how plants absorb carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. But, you may not know that the opposite is true at night. This is the basis for the “don’t sleep with flowers in your bedroom” myth.

 The myth suggests flowers will greedily steal your oxygen while you snooze, but, as you might’ve guessed, this is hardly the case. Flowers are so busy giving off oxygen during the day that any they reabsorb during the night won’t be missed. Rest easy, the flowers on your nightstand can continue to brighten up the room without you worrying they are up to something sinister.

4. Pets and plants don’t mix

Anyone who has ever had pets knows how quickly they take over your life. Instead of a night out at the bar, it’s a puppy play date. Instead of sleeping in and brunch on the weekends, it’s long walks and hours of fetch. You wouldn’t trade your fur baby for anything in the world, but your dog or cat doesn’t have to dictate your home decorating style.

 This myth assumes all flowers are bad for pets. Sure, there are some flowers that could mean an expensive trip to the vet, but certainly not all. You can fill a vase with roses, orchids and African daisies to name a few – these flowers are pet-friendly. On the other hand, tulips, azaleas, amaryllis and begonias are a no-go for your whiskered friends. Do your homework before flower shopping, and you can have a healthy pet and beautiful bouquet.

If you’re still worried about mixing pets and flowers, just take a minute to think about where you place your vase. Look for out-of-reach places or stick to rooms off-limits to the four-footed. You’ll have your peace of mind that Fido or Fluffy won’t be eating any petals – toxic or not – and your vase is safe from paws that could spell an untimely end.

5. Season doesn’t matter

This last myth isn’t about keeping flowers in your home. Instead, it’s one wedding planners everywhere will rejoice to see debunked. You may be able to get almost anything you want with just a few taps on your phone, but that doesn’t mean a bunch of spring flowers will magically be available for your mid-January wedding. Remember that before acting out your very own scene from “Bridezillas.” Talk with your florist to get an idea of what is available for your special day. The wide variety will be sure to have something that catches your eye.

Carrie Pallardy

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