Keeping Cut Flowers Fresh

Posted: February 3, 2015

One, if not the biggest time for cut-flowers is approaching quickly- Valentine’s Day...

Survey those special women in your life, and they will most likely remember the last time you gave them fresh flowers. And why not? A floral bouquet has an immediate positive impact on the recipient. Here are some tips for Valentine’s Day:
Keep in mind the personality of your Valentine. Dr. Terrill Nell, University of Florida professor of Floriculture, offers these hints, based on personality traits:

  • Natural, earthy types, who love the outdoors tend to like flowering or green plants and meadow flowers.
  • Romantics like pastel colors, ribbons, and light fragrances.
  • Expressive personalities like exotic flowers, unusual combinations of shapes, colors, textures and creative arrangements.
  • Traditional people enjoy classic styles and lush arrangements.
  • Trendsetters favor styles in vogue right now, or a display of a few but large flowers.

Whether it is the classic and timeless dozen red roses, or a last minute dash to the store type arrangement (because I forgot it was February 14th, AGAIN), here are a few things to remember in choosing cut flowers:

  • Flower petals should be blemish-free
  • Foliage should be turgid
  • Stems should be firm and in clean water

To make your bouquet last the longest, bring the flowers home as soon as possible. Remember, the stem is the bloom’s source of vitality. Cut a small portion of the stem off and remove the lower leaves from the stems, so that no leaves are underwater once the flowers are placed in a vase.  Most floral shops provide a preservative to enhance the life of the bouquet. Be sure not to use aspirin, wine, pennies or mouthwash as they do not extend the bloom time and may be harmful. Finding a suitable location helps, too. Choose one with bright lighting, even temperatures, and no draft. Keep the bouquet away from ripening fruits as they emit ethylene gas and will age the flowers faster.  Proper care can extend your colorful expression up to two weeks.

The Penn State Master Gardeners have information on making fresh flowers last longer. Please call your local Extension office and request a free copy of Long Lasting Cut Flowers.

Contact Information

  • Master Gardener Coordinator, Lackawanna County
Phone: 570-963-6842