Press-Republican

Columns

February 9, 2014

Flower life can be extended

This certainly has been a trying winter. We’ve seen more than two months of often punishing and sometimes dangerous cold, with nighttime temperatures all too often falling well below zero and daytime temperatures sometimes remaining there.

The wind, which has for the most part been unrelenting, has made it feel much colder and, on occasion, even made it perilous to be outdoors for any length of time. 

February is generally the coldest month of the year, the heart of winter. It’s a time that finds many of us patiently waiting for spring. Perhaps that’s why the preferred gift for a cold, wintry Valentine’s Day is a fresh bouquet of colorful, fragrant cut flowers. What could possibly be more heartwarming?

Valentine’s Day is the day when, more than at any other time of the year, people declare their love with cut flowers. More than half that are given are roses. Most of them are red. And men make the majority of purchases.

An often-asked question is, “How can I extend the vase life of my cut flowers?” The answer is, “By following a few very simple steps.”

First, select the best quality flowers. Flowers that are still in bud will have a longer vase life than flowers already in full bloom. Look for upright, firm petals and buds that are just beginning to open. Avoid yellow, spotted or drooping leaves. 

Make sure your flowers are protected from damage when you transport them or when they are delivered. Keep in mind that tender flowers and buds will not tolerate cold for any length of time and can be seriously injured by freezing temperatures.

When you get them home, thoroughly clean the vase that you are going to use with hot, soapy water or a weak bleach solution.

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