University of Florida

The Neighborhood Gardener –
Flowers for Valentine's Day

Fresh flowers are a popular gift on holidays, with good reason—92% of American women can remember the last time they were given flowers, and fresh flowers have an immediate positive impact on happiness.

Increase the lifespan of your beautiful flowers, and extend your good feelings, by following these easy steps!

  • Handle your flowers carefully—they are delicate, living plants.
  • While holding the bottom of the stem, cut about an inch off the stem with a sharp, clean knife or clippers. This will allow water to pass more easily through the flower stem.
  • Use a commercial flower food, properly mixed in your vase water. Make sure you follow the directions on the floral preservative packet. Most packets are for either one pint or one quart of water. Bottled water can be used to increase water uptake.
  • Before adding flowers to the vase, first remove any leaves that will be submerged.
  • If your vase solution begins to become cloudy, re-cut the stems and place into a new vase solution.
  • Keep flowers out of direct sunlight and in a cool place to help them retain moisture.
  • Keep flowers away from heated surfaces to prevent wilting.
  • Keep flowers away from cigarette smoke and ripening fruit, because they contain ethylene gas, which is harmful to flowers.

So, what flowers should you choose for a Valentine's Day gift?

Cut roses are always a great choice. Roses have long been the symbol of love, especially red roses. But there are several meanings for the many colors of roses. For example, yellow roses would be a thoughtful way to let a friend know you were thinking about them, as yellow signifies friendship.

There are almost 120 varieties of roses available, and their colors include numerous shades of red, pink, purple, orange, peach, and white. Roses aren't a gift just for women, although men's tastes are somewhat different. Research shows that men tend to prefer red and yellow roses, while women gravitate more towards pastels.

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