By Maddy Rohr, K-State Research and Extension news service

MANHATTAN, Kan. — Many people received Valentine’s Day gifts from loved ones, especially roses, but they die shortly after Feb. 14. Kansas State University horticulture expert, Ward Upham offers guidelines to extend the life of floral arrangements and loose stems.

“For floral arrangements, keep the vase filled or floral foam soaked with warm water,” Upham said. “Add fresh, warm water daily and if the water turns cloudy, replace it immediately.”

Upham suggests recutting loose stems by removing 1-2 inches with a sharp knife, under water to allow the stem to draw water instead of air.

“Keep flowers in a cool spot (65 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit), away from direct sunlight, heating or cooling vents, directly under ceiling fans, or near radiators,” Upham said. If a rose starts to wilt, remove it from the arrangement, and recut the stem under water, Upham said. Submerge the entire rose in warm water and the rose should revive in 1-2 hours.

For loose stems, begin by filling a clean, deep vase with water and add the flower food obtained from your florist.

“Remove leaves that will be below the waterline. Leaves in water will promote bacterial growth,” Upham said.

If you cannot get flowers in a food solution right away, keep them cool, Upham said.

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 and gardens. 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, or contact your local K-State Research and Extension office.