They may not last forever, but your Valentine's Day flowers can stay vibrant for quite a while with these DIY cut flower tips.
Score a bouquet of Valentine's Day flowers? Lucky you! Now, before you just plop those babies in a vase, take note: there are a few tried and true flower care tips -- and some not-so-ordinary ideas -- that can keep cut roses and other buds looking as fresh as a daisy for a week or more.
As soon as you receive a bouquet of flowers:
1. Use garden shears or a sharp knife to cut about one inch off of each stem at a 45-degree angle. Do not use a regular pair of scissors; the pressure will damage the stems.
2. Fill a vase (or try an unexpected vessel like a metal bucket or a pitcher) two-thirds of the way with lukewarm water.
3. Remove any leaves and foliage from the stems before placing them in the water. Decomposing leaves can contaminate the water.
Adding a preservative to the water is a smart way to keep it bacteria-free, and to provide the cut flowers with enough nutrients to hold out a bit longer than they might otherwise. If you don't have store-bought flower preservatives on hand, try one of these DIY preservatives:
Add a few tablespoons of sugar
to a vase filled with lukewarm water. The sugar acts as the plant's food, long after the root supply has been cut off.
Add an aspirin and a penny
to the water to keep the flowers bright and perky for a few extra days. The aspirin lowers the water's pH level, warding off bacteria, and the penny serves as a fungicide.
Add a bit of bleach to the water.
Yes, this last one sounds dangerous, but lots of people swear by it. Be conservative: about 1/4 tablespoon of bleach per quart of water is more than enough. If used in moderation, the bleach helps purify the water and kill bacteria.
Need some guidance for arranging your Valentine's Day roses in the vase? Check out this video!
Got any tips for keeping Valentine's Day flowers fresh? Share your ideas in the comments below!