Getting the most from Valentine's Day flowers

Douglas Hunt
by Douglas Hunt
If Hometalk members follow the general trend, nearly one in four of us will purchase flowers or plants for someone on Valentine's Day, and nearly half of those purchases will be roses, more than 200 million of which will be produced for the holiday. Here are three tips for getting the most from those high-priced blooms:
1. Keep the vase filled with water containing floral food. Yes, it makes a difference. If a packet doesn't come with the flowers, or when that runs out, you can make your own using a quart of warm (100 degree) water mixed with one tablespoon of sugar and one teaspoon of liquid bleach, stirred until blended. If the water becomes cloudy, replace it.
2. Re-cut the stems by a minimum of one inch before you put the flowers in the vase. Use a sharp knife so you don't crush the cells of the stem, impinging water uptake. Cut on a 45-degree angle to expose more stem surface. Remove any foliage below the water line. Re-cut the stems by half an inch every other day.
3. Display your flowers away from extremes of either light or heat. A cool spot of 65 to 72 degrees is ideal. Keep them away from the strong light of a window or a heat source like the top of a TV or a radiator. Avoid drafts as from a heating or cooling vent or a ceiling fan.
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  • Ashley Rane Sparks Ashley Rane Sparks on May 01, 2013
    This is very helpful. Does the same thing hold true for roses (or any other flowers) cut from my yard? Do you know a way to make hydrangeas last longer once cut? Thanks! Ashley Rane Sparks

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on May 01, 2013
    It would hold true for roses, and most cut flowers from your garden, although poppies, for example, need to be sealed, and some things with woody stems benefit from lightly crushing the stems with a pliers or hammer. I've always found hydrangeas to be quite long-lasting as a cut flower, but the same strategies should help them.