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Keep those Valentines Day flowers fresh longer
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Valentine’s Day is not only all about romance and significant others, but it is about reflecting on all of those whom you care for in your life such as siblings, parents, close friends and even pets.

Valentine’s Day is Saturday and if you have not gotten any flowers, it’s probably not too late.

Flowers are a great gift. They brighten a room, add color to a table as a centerpiece and usually make someone happy and cause a smile.

Speaking of making people smile, one sure way to get a smile is to give someone flowers. If you are lucky enough to get flowers on Valentine’s Day, consider a few of the following tips to keep them fresh.

If you want to transfer the flowers to a vase, ensure it is clean. Use a sharp knife or pruners to make a clean, angled cut at the bottom of the stems. This will expose new plant cells and maximize water uptake.

Don’t worry about a homemade solution. Use the packet of flower preservative with the bouquet. Generally these have the right amount of nutrients the flowers need and other things to keep the microbial population low.

Water temperature: Many wonder if they should be using cold or warm water. Flowers are going to take up most of the water after being cut at the bottom in the first day or so. Warm water will dissolve the plant food more easily. After the first couple of days, the temperature of the water does not matter too much.

Leaves below the water line of the vase will begin to rot. This will promote the growth of bacteria and fungi. Remove enough leaves to keep them dry but don’t remove too many as leaves help the plant draw water up through its stem.

Keep the flowers in a cool area and away from heat vents. Also keep fruits such as apples away from your flowers. As fruit ripens, ethylene gas is produced and this will shorten the life of your flowers.

Remove old, spent flowers as they will begin to produce ethylene as well.

Check the water daily and keep the water clean.

Flowers are a fun gift. They always go over well by that special someone in your life. Take care of them and they will last longer than you might expect.

Michael Wheeler is county extension coordinator for the UGA Cooperative Extension office in Hall County. You can contact him at 770-535-8293, www.hallcounty.org/extension. His column appears weekly and on gainesvilletimes.com/life.

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