Give the gift of cut flowers for Valentine’s Day


Cut flowers are one of the most popular gifts for Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day itself was celebrated extensively during the Victorian era when people conveyed their feelings through the different meanings of flowers, cutting them from gardens and presenting them to friends and loved ones. Here are some tips to make your cut flowers last longer.

Most cut flowers prefer warm water over cold. The water in your vase or container should be half the depth of the entire stem length. Bacteria can attach to the cut ends of the stems, plugging up plant tissues preventing water from entering. This causes shorter flower life. Use a floral preservative in the water to prevent bacteria; pre-purchased flowers will usually contain a small envelope containing a preservative. Cut stems at an angle. Remove 1 or 2 inches of stem with a sharp knife or shears under warm running water. Immediately place the stem into the container before the stem end dries. Remove any leaves that will be in the water. Keep blooms dry and out of the water. Store vases/containers of cut flowers in a cool spot, free from drafts.

You may have to re-cut stems from time to time to be sure water is coming into the stem. Avoid using treated water, i.e., water that has been treated with a softener.

Tips for cut roses

The rose is a favorite Valentine’s Day flower. They can be difficult to keep usually because they are cut too “tight”, allowed to open too much, or because they fail to take up water. If you are buying cut roses, the outer one or two petals should be loose, with the sepals turned down around the stem. The flowers should have a rich, fresh color and a crisp feel. Avoid buying old or immature roses. Old roses will have many loose petals, little bud left in the center, a dull/faded look, a soft flabby feel, and water-soaked foliage. These roses will open too quickly and be short-lived. Immature roses will have no petals loosened, the bud will feel hard, and the sepals are too tight against the bud. Immature roses may never open.

If you receive boxed roses as a gift, follow the general tips for cut flowers. If you arrange them in floral foam, soak the foam in water first. If your roses arrived in a water-filled container, be sure to check the water level regularly. Fill to the brim with water. Avoid placing arrangements near drafts, heat sources, or direct sunlight.

Cut flowers are not just for Valentine’s Day. Nothing can be more cheerful than a container of fresh flowers. Buy yourself a vase of good cheer!

Are you interested in learning more about gardening, while enjoying shared tips, tricks, and camaraderie with other gardeners? Consider training to be an Oneida County Master Gardener Volunteer.

For more information call us or visit our website phone 315-736-3394, Ext 100. Be sure to like us on Facebook ( and check out our YouTube channel ( for great gardening talks.


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