wilted red roses manuel_adorf/iStock/Thinkstock
WILT AWAY: Even the best Valentine’s Day roses can lose their luster prematurely. A University of Missouri horticulturalist has a few suggestions on how to extend the life of flowers.

Homemade recipe preserves Valentine’s flowers

Make that bouquet last longer than a day with homemade preservative.

My husband hit the Valentine’s Day jackpot. He married a woman who doesn’t like flowers.

I am not a big fan of them indoors. Perhaps it is because the very act of handing me cut flowers is the kiss of death. My frugal, cynical mind kicks in and responds, “Thanks for buying and now handing me something that is dying.”

But then again, I never researched how to keep flowers alive for longer than just two days.

So, for my fellow wives in rural America who actually appreciate receiving the bouquet of flowers — or better yet, roses — on Valentine’s Day, here are a few tips from University of Missouri Extension horticulturalist David Trinklein to help those flowers last twice as long.

Get off to a good start
After receiving boxed flowers, make sure you complete the following tasks:

• Cut correctly. Cut about 1 inch off the bottom of the stems. Make sure to cut at a slant to create more surface area for water uptake.

• Immerse immediately. After cutting, place the flowers directly in water treated with a floral preservative.

• Place properly. Trinklein says that too much sunlight, drafts and heat can lead to water loss and cause flowers to lose attractiveness prematurely. Avoid displaying your bouquet in areas with these qualities.

• Water wisely. Make sure to keep fresh water in the vase. Also, change out water and the preservative every three days.

If you received a bouquet from the florist, ask if a preservative was added. While store-bought preservatives work well and are convenient, Trinklein has his own homemade solution.

Homemade protection
Here is Trinklein’s floral elixir. Mix together the following ingredients and place in vase:

• 1 pint lemon-lime soda (not diet)
• 1 pint water
• 1 teaspoon antiseptic mouthwash, such as Listerine or Scope
• 1 to 2 drops dishwashing liquid

Preservatives, like this one, help flowers last longer, Trinklein says, but they will not last forever. So, enjoy them.

Ultimately, it is the love with which they were purchased that truly stands the test of time.

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