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Keep your Valentine's Day floral arrangement fresh
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It’s Valentine’s Day and what a great way to end the week.

This day is not only all about romance and significant others, but it is about realizing all of those whom you care for in your life such as siblings, parents, close friends and even pets.

Although this day may not be too fun for some, either. We all have experienced loss. So if you see someone who looks a little down, give them a smile. You never know what that smile can do for them.

Speaking of making people smile, one sure way to get a smile is to give someone flowers. So if you have a smile because you got a big bouquet, here are some tips to keep the flowers fresh and last as long as possible.

If you want to transfer the flowers to a vase, make sure 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 making up a homemade solution. Use the packet of flower preservative given to you. Generally these have the right amount of nutrients the flowers need and other things to keep the microbial population low.

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

Leaves below the water line will begin to rot, promoting 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 the stem.

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

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

Check the water daily and keep the water clean.

Flowers are a fun gift and always brighten up a room. 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, His column appears biweekly and on