How to Choose Flowers That Last for Your Valentine

Giving flowers Feb. 14? With value in mind, we sniff out which last the longest, and get to the heart of the best way to keep them in bloom.

A Valentine’s bouquet of fresh flowers is typically so beautiful you wish they’d last forever. Obviously, cut flowers do have an expiration date, but by choosing specific varieties and performing various maintenance procedures, your bouquets can be your “best buds” for a good while.

Carnations, alstroemeria and roses top the list of longest-lasting cut flowers, said Jocie Rogers corporate floral coordinator for .

“Carnations can last up to 15 days in a vase,” explained Rogers. “They come in an array of colors; white, yellow, orange, pink, red, purple, striped and so on.”  They also are two sizes: standard and miniature.

“Consumers should look for carnations that are in tight bud form,” Rogers said. Alstroemeria, a delicate-looking flower, “can live up to 14 days in a vase of water and comes in a wide range of colors, plus they all have a striping effect that can be either very subtle or very distinct depending on the color.” Rogers said to look for blooms that are semi-closed and have crisp, fresh, green leaves.

As for roses – one of the most romantic of flower – expect them to last from seven to 10 days. “The rose is a traditional symbol of love and is most popular at Valentine’s Day,” said Rogers, who added that rose enthusiasts should look for blooms that have not opened fully and lush green leaves. (Fun fact: An estimated 196 million roses were produced for Valentine's Day in 2011)

Maintenance tips

Now that you know what type lasts the longest, here’s a look at other ways to boost your flowers' “vaselife:”

From Carolyn Hefner, an event planner and owner of  in Birmingham:  

  • “If arrangements have already been given a boost by the florist with their mix of preservatives, then change the water daily.”
  • “To extend their beauty, I put bouquets in a cool garage at night.”

From Jocie Rogers of English Gardens:

  •  “Cut flower stems with pruners or a knife.”
  • “Keep flowers away from extreme heat or cold.”

From Bill Hamilton, an event planner and owner of Bill Hamilton Designs of Royal Oak:    

“I’ve heard of adding to the water  everything from a dime to Sprite to a little bleach to the powder that comes with the flowers. The basic reason for putting anything in the water is to keep bacteria from building up in the container.

"So don’t set ‘em and forget ‘em — if you change your water at least every other day and recut the stems (on an angle), your flowers will last.” 

Don't forget: Thinking ahead to picking up flowers for your valentine this year? Tell us where you buy them: 

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