Helena’s VanCleave shares tips on how to keep Valentine’s Day flowers fresh

Published 2:51 pm Monday, February 6, 2017


Millions will receive flowers for Valentine’s Day. In fact, roses are the No. 1 choice when selecting Valentine’s Day flowers and Helena resident Chris VanCleave has some tips on how to keep roses fresh.

Nicknamed “The Redneck Rosarian,” VanCleave is passionate about gardening and growing roses. He is an active member of the Birmingham chapter of the American Rose Society, serving two terms as president. In 2007, he created the Rose Chat Podcast, which has reached over a half a million listeners with news and information on growing the world’s most beloved flower, the rose.

Many are choosing roses, but in non-traditional ways. The romance and allure of garden roses has created a great demand for these types of blooms as cut flowers and we are seeing many people making these selections over the typical dozen long stemmed red roses.

Whichever type of flowers you send this year, there are a few simple tips and tricks for keeping those blooms fresh well after the big day.

Here are VanCleave’s tips for keeping those Valentine’s Day blooms fresh:

If they arrive in a box or wrapped in cellophane, remove them immediately and prepare them for a vase as follows:

–Fill a container with equal parts water and lemon-lime soda.

–Add a penny. (copper is a natural anti-bacterial agent)

–Cut the end of the stems of each of the flowers and foliage you receive. The roses don’t care whether you cut straight across or on a slant. Just cut them. This cut allows the stems to be hydrated.

–As soon as you cut them, plunge the stems into the mixture of water, soda and aspirin. This combination of sugar and pain reliever seems to do the trick.

–Arrange as necessary.

Repeat this step every two days. As the stems become shorter and some of the blooms begin to fade, divide and move them to smaller containers.

As the additional filler foliage fades, add some from a garden. Rosemary, boxwood and others make great fillers and will give blooms a new look.

Most people find that by following these simple steps, it can extend the life of blooms up to 14 days.

VanCleave serves as Chairman of the Helena Alabama Beautification Board where he has spearheaded efforts to create a sustainable landscape in one of the top 100 places to live in the United States.

VanCleave will be a featured speaker at the Birmingham Home Show Feb. 18-19 at the BJCC in downtown Birmingham.