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WVU experts take up thorny issue of Valentine’s Day flower care

Red roses waiting to be purchased.

With Valentine's Day approaching,two West Virginia University experts are providing tips on choosing and caring for cut flowers. (WVU Photo)

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With millions of cut flowers set to be exchanged for Valentine’s Day, West Virginia University experts are offering tips on how to pick the best buds and make the most of the blooms.

It’s advice from Kelly Irvine, business manager for the Davis College Store at the WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, and Garrett Oursler, president of the WVU Horticulture Club, who are overseeing a campus holiday fundraising flower sale.


“To spot quality flowers, look for opening buds, no signs of wilting, and cut stems that are clean and green. As soon as you can, it’s best to recut stems while they’re submerged under water. Cutting above water creates an air bubble in the stem from lost moisture that isn’t good for the plant.

“To make flowers last longer, use the packet of flower food that comes with your bouquet. Flower food contains an acidifier, sugar and an antimicrobial. If your bouquet does not come with flower food, plain water is fine. You can also use lemon-lime soda mixed with water — one part lemon-lime soda to four parts water. It is best to change the water every few days, recutting the stems with each water change.” — Kelly Irvine, business manager, Davis College Store, WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design

“When choosing a bouquet, look at how full the bouquet is. Pay close attention to the flowers, especially for roses. Look for damage of any kind. If they’re fully open, those flowers have been sitting there for a while. You want blooms that are closer to a bud so you can enjoy them for longer while they open slowly.

“If you buy your flowers ahead of time and want to save a bouquet for a later date, store them in the refrigerator for a few days. This will slow down the loss of water from the plants and keep them from wilting. Cut the stem of the flower at a 45-degree angle so there is more surface area to absorb water.

“If you take really good care of your bouquet, you could get two weeks out of it. There are some crazy stories out there of people getting bouquets to last up to a month, but that’s not as common.” — Garrett Oursler, club president, WVU Horticulture Club, sophomore and Berkeley Springs native, environmental soils and water sciences and sustainable food and farms major with a horticulture minor

West Virginia University experts can provide commentary, insights and opinions on various news topics. Search for an expert by name, title, areas of expertise or college/school/department in the  Experts Database  at  WVUToday.  



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