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Bundle of red roses

Make love last: K-State horticulture expert Ward Upham shares tips to extend the life of one of the most popular Valentine's Day gifts.

How to make the love last when giving Valentine’s roses

K-State horticulture expert shares tips for extending the life of roses

Feb. 10, 2021

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Love is in the air, but the goodwill that one might earn by sending Valentine’s Day roses could be quickly lost if those flowers quickly wilt.

Kansas State University horticulture expert Ward Upham said there are important guidelines to follow to help extend the life of roses.

For floral arrangements, Upham’s recommendations include:

* Keep the vase filled – or the floral foam soaked – with warm water. Add fresh, warm water daily.

“If the water turns cloudy, replace it immediately,” Upham said. “If possible, recut stems by removing 1 to 2 inches with a sharp knife, under water.”

* Keep flowers in a cool spot (62 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit). Place the flowers away from direct sunlight, ceiling fans, heating and cooling vents, and radiators.

* If a rose starts to wilt, remove it from the arrangement. Recut the stem under water. Submerge the entire rose in warm water. “The rose should revive in 1 to 2 hours,” Upham said.

Upham adds that if you receive loose stem roses, and can’t get them in water right away, keep them in a cool place. Then as soon as possible, fill a clean, deep vase with water and add flower food obtained from a florist.

“Remove leaves that will be below the water line,” Upham said. “Leaves in water will promote bacterial growth. Recut stems under water with a sharp knife and place the flowers in the vase solution you’ve prepared.”

Upham and his colleagues in K-State’s Department of Horticulture and Natural Resources produce a weekly Horticulture Newsletter with tips for maintaining home landscapes. The newsletter is available to view online or can be delivered by email each week.

Interested persons can also send their garden- and yard-related questions to Upham at wupham@ksu.edu, or contact your local K-State Research and Extension office.

At a glance

Love is in the air, and K-State horticulture expert Ward Upham shares recommendations for making Valentine’s Day roses last well beyond the big day.


K-State Horticulture Newsletter


Ward Upham

Written by

Pat Melgares


KSRE logo
K‑State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well‑being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county extension offices, experiment fields, area extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K‑State campus in Manhattan. For more information, visit www.ksre.ksu.edu. K-State Research and Extension is an equal opportunity provider and employer.