Science, Tech, Math › Science How to Make Your Own Christmas Tree Preservative Share Flipboard Email Print Betsie Van Der Meer / Getty Images Science Chemistry Projects & Experiments Basics Chemical Laws Molecules Periodic Table Scientific Method Biochemistry Physical Chemistry Medical Chemistry Chemistry In Everyday Life Famous Chemists Activities for Kids Abbreviations & Acronyms Biology Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Chemistry Expert Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Updated August 07, 2019 Christmas tree preservatives (aka Christmas tree "food") and cut flower preservatives contain the same ingredients: a food source for the plant, an acidifier (making hard water more acidic which helps the plant take in water and food), and a disinfectant to prevent mold, fungi, and algae from growing. This is an easy process that takes mere minutes. Christmas Tree Preservative Ingredients 1 gallon water2 cups light corn syrup4 teaspoons chlorine bleach4 teaspoons lemon juice or vinegar (optional) How To Make Christmas Tree Food 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.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 periodically with water from a spray bottle.You can store the solution for four to five days at room temperature in a closed container, or two weeks refrigerated. Tips 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.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.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.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.For flowers, you'll probably want to cut the recipe to 1 quart water, 1/2 c. corn syrup, 1 tsp. bleach, 1 tsp. lemon juice.