Keep flowers fresh past Valentine's
by Paisley Boston
Feb 14, 2014 | 2670 views | 0 0 comments | 54 54 recommendations | email to a friend | print
After chocolates are eaten and Teddy Bears have been placed in cozy corners, there is one Valentine's Day gift that is often neglected – roses.

Roses are one of the most commonly purchased and most expensive perishable Valentine's Day gifts.

According to Mississippi State University Coastal Research & Extension Center Horticulturist Gary R. Bachman, the United States imports more than 1.3 billion stems of roses each year, and this number increases annually.

Although roses are transported to the U.S. in very high capacities, they tend to die quickly.

Flower designer Stephanie Jordan said roses are a lot like people and they have specific survival requirements.

"When you first receive your beautiful bouquet of roses you should make a sharp angled cut with scissors on all of the stems. Do not use a dull knife or dull scissors when cutting the stems. The cut needs to be precise so that no scab will grow over the cut and prevent the flower from getting water," said Jordan.

Jordan said that after roses have been cut they should be placed in a clean vase with water and the flower food packet that should have been provided with the roses.

Individuals may also use a homemade plant food recipe that consists of sugar to feed the flowers and a few drops of mouthwash to help inhibit bacterial growth in the vase water.

"The water should be changed every three days and the stems should be recut after each water change. You should do this to prevent the stem from being clogged with bacteria and so that the stem will continue to drink," she added.

"If greenery is provided with the roses, please make sure that all the leaves on the stem are pulled off because you do not want any leaves in the water – the leaves will promote the growth of bacteria," continued Jordan.

Keep the bouquets out of direct sunlight and away from vents blowing warm air.

Higher temperatures encourage faster flower decline, which is why florists always keep their flowers in coolers

"Roses prefer to be stored at room temperature – they don’t like it too hot or too cold," said Jordan.

Do not put the vase on top of a television or anything that produces heat.

The flowers will die in just a few hours in some cases.

According to Master Gardener Jane Dunlap, upon receiving fresh cut roses, one should pour a can Sprite into the vase along with water.

They need to be kept cool, so keep them out of direct sunlight as well.

"If greenery was provided with your roses it should only be at the top and it should not go into the water," Dunlap said.

“Please remember that roses do not like cigarette smoke because it produces a gas that will kill the them quickly," she added.

"If you follow these directions, your roses should last anywhere between a week and 10 days," she continued.

Although the life expectancy of a rose is not very long, the joy of receiving flowers from that special someone is immeasurable.