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Valentine's Day

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Valentine’s Day Flower Care

Dr. Bridget Behe, Ph.D.,
Offers Flower Care & Handling

Each year, Dr. Behe answers a wide variety of flower care questions. Following is a look at some of the most popular cut-flower questions and answers:

Q. What is the best way to prolong the enjoyment life of fresh-cut flowers?

domed roses centerpieceA. The best way to get longer enjoyment from cut flowers is to remember to re-cut the stems and use professional flower food/preservative dissolved in a measured amount of water. To re-cut stems, cut about one inch off using floral clippers or a clean, sharp knife. Immediately place freshly cut stems in a clean vase or container full of water that has been treated with professional flower food/preservative. Also, keep fresh flowers out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources and drafts such as air vents, heater vents or fans.

Q. How often should I change the water in the vase and replenish fresh flower food/preservative?

Luv bubble arrangementA. Fresh flower food/preservative should be added to the existing vase water as the level recedes. Normally, it is not necessary to change the water in the vase until day five or six, but if the water looks cloudy or dirty, be sure to change it immediately. And be sure to add more flower food/preservative each time the water is replenished.

Q. Which cut flower will last longest?

A. Generally speaking, chrysanthemums, alstroemeria and carnations are among the longer-lasting flowers.  Flower life is a function of the genetics, the environment, and the care given when flowers are received. You can help extend the enjoyment life of all fresh-cut flowers by being sure to provide proper care and handling as soon as you receive the flowers.

Q. If I remove the leaves from the flowers, will it harm them?  Domed roses arrangement

A. No, removing the leaves from the flower will not harm the flower.  In fact, you should remove any leaves that may fall below the water line.  This will help remove a source of bacteria and fungi that will grow under water and clog the stems, preventing water uptake. But keep the leaves above the water line in the container to allow the flowers to respire.

Q. I've heard vinegar and water is better than professional flower food/preservatives, is this true? 

A. Not true.  There are many home remedies that some say will extend the life of fresh-cut flowers, but most are myths and will not appropriately help your flowers live longer. Nothing extends the life as well as a measured amount of professionally prepared flower food/preservative dissolved in a measured amount of warm water.

Dr. Bridget BeheFlower MD

Throughout the year, Dr. Behe hosts “Ask Bridget,” a question and answer section on FLOWRMD, where she has provided guidance and helped remedy thousands of flower-care dilemmas. She draws from her experience as a professor in the Department of Horticulture at Michigan State University. She is also a member of the OFA, an association of floriculture professionals, the Michigan Nursery & Landscape Association and is a Michigan Certified Florist.

The Flower Promotion Organization

The Flower Promotion Organization, an alliance of United States and Colombian fresh-cut flower growers, is dedicated to providing consumers with fresh-cut flower education and design inspiration.

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