Valentine’s day is a holiday when lovers declare their affection and friends express their fondness to one another. People often send a red rose for love, a yellow rose for friendship, and a white rose for youthful and everlasting love. However, other flowers can reveal passion or friendship and this column will point out ways to keep flower arrangements lasting longer.

Present a gardenia to someone if you prefer to keep your identity a mystery while acknowledging that someone has a secret crush. The forget-me-not is an excellent choice to let a person to express, although there may be separations or challenges, they have a devoted and never-ending love. If you wish to express to your partner how beautiful they are, offer a gerbera daisy. The bright, beautiful colors of a gerbera daisy also brighten up the room. The tulip is symptomatic of perfect and profound affection. It is the ideal gift to represent unconditional love. The alstroemeria is symbolic of friendship, love, strength, and devotion. It will communicate the message that you will consistently be there and that you believe you have an everlasting bond. Whether you choose to gift one of the above flowers or any other floral arrangement, we will examine ways to keep cut flowers striving.

The secret to extending the life of your cut flowers is to provide nourishment and minimize the growth of bacteria in the water. To attain this, follow these steps. Start with a clean vase and cut on a 45-degree angle about 2-3 inches off the bottom of each stem. This allows the flower to drink water easier because it is not lying flat on the bottom of the vase. Also, prune extra leaves that are below the waterline. Doing this will help prevent bacterial production. You will also need to pick the right vase and when making this choice, size does matter.

Follow the general rule of thumb, the length of the flower stems should be only one and a half to two times the height of your selected vase. You also need to make sure that the opening of the vase is not too wide, which will not provide support for the flower or too narrow, which can constrict future buds from flowering. Next, fill your vase with room temperature water and food for the flowers. The following are two ingredients you can add. Mix two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and one tablespoon of sugar to one quart (32 ounces) of water. The sugar will feed the flowers while the vinegar prevents bacteria growth and establishes a favorable pH balance. However, tulips do not benefit from adding sugar to the water. You can use the package of food that came with the flowers and add ¼ teaspoon of bleach to 32 ounces of water. Bleach fights bacteria and keeps the water from becoming cloudy. Besides the above, put your bouquet in the fridge at night or for eight hours a day. You will also have to change the water every two to three days.

Now that you have your cut arrangement ready for display, avoid placing them in direct sunlight, drafts, heat, and fruit. Ripening fruits release small amounts of ethylene gas, which causes cut flowers to age more expeditiously.

Whether you choose one of the preceding flowers or any other flower arrangement, your loved one or friend will be impressed. Likewise, if you follow these tips you will extend the life of your flower arrangement.

Thank you for reading and if you have questions or suggestions, please email katherineckarkson2@gmail.com.

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