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The Key To Long-Lasting Cut Flowers Is Right Next To The Milk And Eggs

Various cut flowers in glass vases sit on a wooden table.
Learn some ways - some new, some tried-and-true - to preserve your cut flowers and make them last longer.

Happy Valentine's Day! To preserve cut flowers that you may have received for the holiday, we’ll run through the basics of cut flower care including some tried-and-true home remedies.

The first step to taking care of your posies is to simply cut the stems underwater. From there, remove any bottom leaves from stems that might sit under water in your vase or container, as those can rot in the water. That could lead to diseases that impede water flow to the stems.

Next, put the flowers in a vase or container with warm water and set that in a bright room. Avoid direct sunlight and make sure the room is cool. Also, keep your cut flowers away from fruit! Fruit gives off ethylene gas which can ripen or mature flowers very quickly.

As far as putting additives into the water, go ahead and use that packet of floral additive which often comes with cut flowers. That powdered mix contains antibacterial and antifungal additives and sugar to keep the plants growing and flowers fed.

Then, of course, there are numerous home remedies when it comes to extended the life of your cut flowers! Some ideas include adding things to the water in your flower vase like aspirin, coins, bleach, soda, vodka and even hair spray.

The pros in the cut flower world, like FTD and ProFlowers actually researched several of these remedies and then ranked their favorites. Of the various suggestions, the flower experts prefer adding lemon-lime soda or apple cider vinegar and sugar to the water in a vase of cut flowers!

And both agree on the one thing that will most definitely keep your beautiful cut flowers lasting longer: the fridge.

If you really want to keep your flowers lasting longer, simply place the whole vase full of flowers in the fridge overnight then take them out during the day to enjoy, just like a florist would do in a shop.

Q: “I was given three dogwood prunings, each about two feet high with many branches. I was told I could put them in water and they might grow roots. And to my great excitement, they did! What to do next and when?” — Athena, in Brattleboro

It is time to pot them up. If the roots are thick and lush, put them in a pot with soil. If the roots are still small, keep them in water for a while longer.

And then… wait. Keep the potted roots in a bright but cool room, even as cool as 40 degrees. You want to basically slow down the growth a bit. The goal is to keep them alive and not rotting. Then, in spring,  you can put them outdoors in the garden to enjoy.

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All Things Gardening is powered by you, the listener! Send your gardening questions and conundrums and Charlie may answer them in upcoming episodes. You can also leave a voicemail with your gardening question by calling VPR at (802) 655-9451.

Hear All Things Gardening during Weekend Edition Sunday with VPR host Mary Engisch, Sunday mornings at 9:35.

Have questions, comments or tips?Send us a messageor get in touch by tweeting us @vprnet.

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Mary Williams Engisch is a local host on All Things Considered.
Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally recognized garden writer, radio and TV show host, consultant, and speaker. Charlie is the host of All Things Gardening on Sunday mornings at 9:35 during Weekend Edition on Vermont Public. Charlie is a guest on Vermont Public's Vermont Edition during the growing season. He also offers garden tips on local television and is a frequent guest on national programs.
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