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Like Your Valentine, Roses Require a Great Deal of TLC

February 09, 1991| From Associated Press

The long-stemmed red rose has long been a symbol of love, and a dozen delivered on Valentine's Day is the ultimate declaration from someone who cares.

The rose also is one of the most difficult flowers to grow, requiring about eight weeks to develop and mature, according to the FTD Report, a publication of Florists' Transworld Delivery.

Here are some tips on buying and caring for roses:

Select roses that are just beginning to open and avoid those where stems are bent near the flower heads.

If possible, condition roses when you receive them. Put them in a clean, deep container of warm water, about 110 degrees, and then place the container in a cool room for two to four hours.

Before arranging roses, cut the stems at an angle with a sharp knife, being careful not to bruise or scrape the stems. Some experts recommend cutting the stems while the entire flower is immersed in warm water, such as a filled sink.

Remove any foliage on stems that will be below the water line.

Arrange roses in a clean, deep vase filled with warm water. Add a floral preservative. A powder that dissolves in water is available from florists for a few cents.

If you arrange roses in florists' foam, which is presoaked and provides a water source as well as a base, put a preservative in the water the foam is soaked in.

Display roses away from heat and drafts, and give them warm water daily.

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