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article imageA Few Tricks to Keep Those Valentine's Day Roses Alive Longer

By Joan Firstenberg     Feb 14, 2009 in Entertainment
Oh, those beautiful red roses some of us get for Valentine's Day. Often, they die very soon on the vine. But, here are a few ideas for keeping them alive longer than you might imagine...maybe too long.
Have you ever wished that the beautiful red roses that you got on Valentine's Day from your true love or even your good friend could last a little longer than they generally do? There are ways to extend their fragile lives. And the tricks go for any cut flowers, besides roses, too.
Did you happen to get your roses already in a vase? You're in luck. If not, find one that's high enough to hold the flowers, wash it, fill it about one-half full with lukewarm water, and throw the little package of floral preservative that usually comes with the flowers, into the water.
If you were one of the unlucky ones not to get that little packet, you can make y our own. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden's recipe is:
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoon vinegar
Next, follow the Farmer's Almanac's advice,
"Remove all leaves and foliage from the portion of the stems that will rest beneath the water. Re-cut the stems at an angle with a sharp knife [or a sharp pair of pruners, if you have them], being careful not to crush the stems. This will ensure better water absorption.”
Cut 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch off the stem base, doing it at a 45-degree angle, which keeps the stems from sitting straight against the bottom of the vase, blocking water intake.
Don Janssen of the University of Nebraska Extension offers this advice.
”Any cut flower arrangement will last longer if it’s kept cool. Place it where it won’t be exposed to direct sun, heat from appliances or electric lights, or hot or cold drafts. If possible, move it to a cool spot … at night. Both heat and moving air take moisture from the flowers at an accelerated rate.”
On the other hand, if your roses have not quite flowered, and are in tight buds and you want them to open more quickly, place the vase in a warm room until they do, then move the vase back to a cooler spot to extend their lives.
Add more water each day to keep the level high. And if it's possible, change the water every fourth day, replacing the old water with fresh. Also put in a little more of the floral presentation solution.
It is possible that after all this wonderful care and concern, your roses may wilt, or hang their necks. Not to worry. Barbara Larson of the University of Illinois Extension has this advice for that scenario.
“Wilted roses may be revived by re-cutting the stem under water. Then submerge the entire rose in warm water by laying it in a sink or bathtub. After 20 to 60 minutes, the rose should have absorbed enough water to reinvigorate it. Roses in tight buds, which are severely wilted at the neck, may not revive.”
You can do this in a bathtub might feel silly, but, yes, it really works.
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