A Glasgow-based designer has been inspired by his gran’s decades-old ‘hack’ involving a copper penny to create a new vase that prevents your flowers from dying prematurely.

From as early as the 1600s, when the first British copper currency was put into circulation those in the know might have been using any spare change to keep their flowers fresh and flourishing.

Copper is a naturally antimicrobial metal, capable of killing bacteria build-up in water - the number one killer of cut stem flowers.

Read more: Dragons' Den stars blown away by Scots bagpiper's appearance

However, the ingenious technique is slowly being consigned to history - only pennies produced before 1992 keep flowers in full bloom as that was the year The Royal Mint changed one and two pence coins from bronze copper to copper-plated steel - following a similar move for copper pennies in the US ten years earlier. 

Now the designer behind the world's first self-watering origami plant pot has gone back to the future - and a family tradition - by harnessing the spirit of his gran’s old-school trick to create a self-cleansing, flat pack vase, utilising origami-inspired design to keep your flowers alive for longer.

HeraldScotland: POTR's environmentally-friendly vasePOTR's environmentally-friendly vase (Image: Story Shop)

Former Dyson designer Andrew Flynn, who co-founded award-winning POTR pots three years ago, said: “When I think back to visiting my gran’s house as a kid I think of colour, because at the centre of every room there was always a big, bright bouquet of flowers.

“I was in the kitchen with her one day when she was preparing a fresh bunch of flowers, cutting the stems, when I noticed she’d flicked a spare two pence coin into one of the vases.

“When I asked why she was seemingly throwing away her money, she explained the copper in the coin keeps the flowers alive for longer.

“Over the last year, I’ve been working to bring this old technique into the 21st Century, and we’re delighted POTR is launching its new innovation which helps prevent flower wastage and keep your flowers alive for longer”.

Read more: Joan Eardley painting altered but could still fetch five figure sum

Glasgow-based POTR’s self-cleansing Letterbox Vase has been designed in conjunction with the Copper Stem to keep flowers thriving, whilst minimising the environmental impact and looking beautiful in your home too.

The material of the vase is made from recycled polypropylene and high-grade silicone rubber, whilst its patent pending design utilises the copper stem - which simply nestles in amongst your flower stems - to act as an antimicrobial rod, actively killing bacterial build-up in the water, the number one killer when it comes to premature flower withering.

By neutralising the bacteria in the water, your flowers are kept fresh which can ultimately extend their lifespan.

HeraldScotland: POTR copper stem toolPOTR copper stem tool (Image: Story Shop)

Besides the inspiration provided by his gran, a major motivator in developing the vase and copper stem was Andrew’s desire to solve the environmental impact of flowers being thrown out to waste too early. This continues POTR’s trend for green innovation, which landed the young start-up the Scottish EDGE Net Zero Award, following on from their Scottish Edge Round 19 win, which provided them with £100,000 funding to get the business going.

Last Autumn POTR released their Ocean Pot Range, produced using 100 per cent recycled fishing nets sourced from coastlines around the UK and EU.

Andrew said: “A huge amount of energy is required to produce and then transport flowers in order to be sold in the UK and around the world.

“The majority of flowers sold in the UK are imported, often by air freight, meaning the carbon footprint associated with a bouquet of flowers can be relatively high.

“If not cared for properly, flowers will die prematurely, exacerbating the problem of wastage.

“At POTR, we understand the importance flowers can play in people’s lives - especially on special occasions - and therefore we want to ensure premature waste of flowers is kept to a minimum.

“Our vase and copper stem produce the optimal conditions for keeping your flowers thriving for as long as possible and by doing this, early flower wastage can be prevented.”

Continuing the trend across the POTR range, the vase has a flatpack origami design, ensuring it can be posted directly through your letterbox for both economic and convenient delivery, cutting the carbon footprint of delivery by over 100 times and unlike a glass vase, there’s no chance of it arriving smashed or damaged on arrival.

Andrew and POTR have also proudly produced another ‘life-proof’ product. Made from recycled polypropylene and high-grade silicone rubber - which means it is fully machine washable - its robust design ensures the vase will bounce rather than smash if it is dropped on the floor. Able to hold a full flower bouquet and one litre of water, the vase has been produced with flower protection in mind too as its soft silicone rim cushions flower stems and prevents the flowers from becoming damaged.

It has also been engineered by Andrew to ensure a one-second pop-up assembly process, meaning the beautiful vase is ready to hold a blooming bouquet of flowers as soon as it's taken out of its recycled card envelope.

The launch of the vase marks another major milestone in the POTR journey. In February, the fledgling Glasgow-based business announced it had secured a six-figure deal with Europe’s leading online flower delivery company, Bloom & Wild, to partner with them on the launch of their new letterbox vase.

Andrew believes his latest creation represents possibly the business’ proudest moment yet, seeking inspiration from the past to help shape a potential future for how people enjoy flowers in their home.

Andrew said: “The design process takes a very long time, with lots of trial and error, but if you have a strong vision on day one at the drawing board, it makes the entire journey far more enjoyable and rewarding.

“Being able to think of how much my gran enjoyed flowers, and the joy her bright and beautiful home brought to people when they visited, gave me that extra incentive for the vase and copper stem.

“Flowers are timeless in the sense they’ll always bring smiles to people’s faces, especially in big moments in people’s lives. But often they are time-limited because they don’t last as long as they should.

“In my gran’s age, they had the copper penny trick to keep them alive and flourishing. I’m very proud to have been able to look to the past and bring that simple idea into the modern age, utilising new materials and technology to ensure the flowers stay in full bloom as long as they deserve to.”