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Helping Valentine’s Flowers and Plants Last Longer

Jeff Wichman / Kansas State University February 14, 2019

Flowers, especially roses and carnations, are a popular gift for Valentine’s Day. However, extending the life of cut flowers and potted plants takes a little effort.

Riley County Extension horticulture agent Gregg Eyestone says the first step in extending the life of cut flowers it to re-establish the water-conducting tissues by cutting the stems.

Eyestone says “typically the best way would be under water, so that once you cut the cells open that they can take water up immediately. Typically is done with a very sharp knife.  Good room temperature water’s ideal. Often times when you buy these you may get a packet that helps keep bacteria from growing in that vase water and so follow those instructions.”

 Placing the flowers in the refrigerator at night or when you’re not there to enjoy them and locating them away from heating sources when you’re home will also extend their life. But, no matter what you do, Eyestone says cut flowers aren’t meant to have a long shelf life.

Eyestone adds “minimum is four days, if you keep things going well, but could maximum up to two weeks I would think…for carnations, they seem, to last quite a long time.”

 If you received a potted plant instead of cut flowers for Valentine’s Day, you should be able to enjoy that for several months. Caring for a potted plant is similar to cut flowers in terms of water and temperature, but Eyestone says light is a different story.


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