Care of Valentine’s Day Gifts


Valentine’s Day will be here before we know it, have you bought your loved one some flowers or maybe a houseplant to show them you love them.  Valentines’ Day is one of the biggest horticultural holidays that we have.  Personally, I like any holiday that gives anyone a reason to purchase or receive flowers.  For Valentine’s Day, many florists offer the option of either cut flowers or potted plants and houseplants.

Cut flowers are beautiful, especially roses on Valentine’s Day.  They smell so wonderful and they can really brighten a day.  Roses are a great choice for this holiday, as they are the staple for the day.  The great thing about roses is that they come in many different colors to suit each person’s unique tastes.  There are a lot of other great cut flowers to choose from for this holiday, or any day you want to tell someone you love them or you are thinking about them.  Other great cut flower choices include: carnation, daisy, snapdragon, lily, mum and many more.  Any of these would be a great choice, just pick something you or the recipient likes.  The best way to decide on flowers is to go into a shop and pick them out yourself, you can also browse a large selection online but you don’t get to “stop and smell the roses” in that case.


Care of cut flowers is important to make them last longer.

  • Purchase fresh flowers
  • Gift them soon after purchase
  • Re-cut the stems at an angle with a clean, sharp knife
    • It allows them to draw water in for lasting, full blooms
  • Remove any leaves that might fall below the water line
    • Leaves in the water line will deteriorate and cause bacteria to get into the water and eventually the flowers.
  • Do not use ice-cold water
    • Use lukewarm water for best absorption by the flowers.
  • Use a clean vase
  • Change the water daily
  • Use the flower preservative that comes with the bouquet
  • Do NOT placed in full sunlight or in drafty rooms or near the door

If you want to keep the flowers even longer, you can dry them. Begin the drying process before the flowers begin to wilt by hanging them upside down for a few weeks.  I always tie some string around the bouquet then use a clothespin to hang them on curtains.  Dried flowers do lose color in the process, but still look nice.  If the flowers are hanging where they lie flat against a wall or other object, they will dry with a flat side, so be sure to check to make sure they are away from other objects.

Photo by S. Cochran, UNL Extension in Lancaster County

For a houseplant or potted plant, there are many choices.  Orchid, Bromeliad, Kalanchoe, Gerber Daisy, Amaryllis, and Cyclamen are good choices with flowers.  You can also choose the greenery type, with little flower appearances including: philodendron, aloe, Mother-in-Law’s tongue, coleus, and ficus.  During the summer these can be placed outside to add to your landscape, but you don’t want to leave them outside during the winter, as they will not overwinter.  If you do place any houseplants outside during the summer, before you bring them inside look for or treat any pests that may have gotten on the plants while outside.  Each plant is going to have different care instructions such as light and watering instructions.  Follow the labels given in the plants for care, or if you have questions about the care of a particular plant, call your local Extension Office for these answers.

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