I received cut flowers for Valentine’s Day. How do I prolong their life?

FAQ
Question: 

I received cut flowers for Valentine’s Day. How do I prolong their life?

Answer: 

Several things can be done to lengthen the vase life of cut flowers.  Begin with a clean vase.  Wash previously used containers with hot, soapy water to remove debris and destroy bacteria and fungi that may shorten the life of the cut flowers.  Remove all foliage that will be below the water line in the vase.  Submerged plant foliage may decay and shorten the life of the cut flowers.  To promote water uptake by the cut flowers, cut off the bottom ½ to 1 inch of the stems with a sharp knife.  Immediately place the cut flowers in a vase.  Add a commercial floral preservative to the water to prolong the life of the cut flowers.  (A small packet of floral preservative comes with most cut flowers.  Simply follow directions on the packet.)  Place the cut flowers in a cool, brightly lit location in the home or office.  Keep the flowers away from heat sources and drafts.  Check the water level daily and add water when necessary.  Completely change the water if it becomes cloudy or begins to smell. 

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