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Give Valentine's Day roses the right love and they'll last longer

Media Contact: Allison Sandve, University of Minnesota Extension media relations, office 612-626-4077,

ST. PAUL, Minn. (2/13/2017)—Valentine’s Day and roses go hand in hand. Bouquet givers and receivers can extend roses beauty with tips from the University of Minnesota Extension horticulture team.

Selection: Look for flowers with a few outermost petals beginning to unfurl. Look for all petals to be fresh and not brown or discolored, especially the outer petals, which are the first to deteriorate.

Healthy leaves and stems: Leaves and stems should be medium to dark green. Yellowed or light green leaves and stems are a sign of aging flowers.
Close-up of red rose

Promote water uptake: Cut the stem ends to encourage them to take up water. Use a sharp knife or pruners to avoid crushing plant tissue. If possible, cut the stems underwater or place them in water soon after cutting. Check your vase daily; roses can take up a lot of water.

Preservatives: Use the floral preservative that’s usually packaged with any deliveries or available where you purchased the flowers. Dissolve the entire packet in room temperature water before you begin cutting the stems. These preservatives typically contain ingredients that limit bacterial growth and provide carbohydrates for longer lasting flowers. Remove the leaves that will be immersed in water; this reduces added bacteria and the smelly decay that comes with it. The benefits of adding common sugars such as soda pop are a myth that actually risks increased bacteria and may shorten the bouquet’s life.

Slow flower development: Keep your flowers in a cool place. If the room where you would like to enjoy your flowers is warm, move them to a cooler place when you are away. Direct sunlight should be avoided because it can make the flowers open too quickly.

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