Picking and preserving your Valentine's Day flowers

SAN FRANCISCO- The week leading up to Valentine's Dayis the second busiest of the year at the San Francisco Flower Mart, and there's a few things you should know when buying flowers for your special someone.

Otsuka says more than 1,250,000 roses will be sold and distributed through the San Francisco Flower Mart this year. But just because roses are red and violets are blue, doesn't mean a bouquet of red roses is the right gift for your Valentine.

"We did a research study last year and it proved that 90 percent of women wanted a mixed bouquet. They did not want red roses," says Christina Stembel, owner of Farmgirl Flowers.

Stembel only uses seasonal, California grown flowers in her bouquets which are delivered by bicycle to her San Francisco clients. Stembel's bouquets include unique floral elements like almond tree branches and blossoms, deep purple callalilys and decorative kale.

"It's great effort for men to do red roses, but if they really want to get what their woman wants, then they should get a mixed bouquet using more unique varieties," explains Stembel.

Harold Hoogasian's family has been in the flower business since the 1920's. As President of Hoogasian Flowers, he encourages Californians to buy locally whether it's from their neighborhood florist or grocery store.

Hoogasian says because flower prices are based on supply-in-demand, they typically do cost more around Valentine's Day. He says there are steps you can take to make sure that pricey bouquet of cut flowers last longer.

Hoogasian says when you pick out flowers "look for vibrant foliage, don't just focus on the petals," he adds that you should "look for squeaky clean stems."

Once you've picked out your flowers, Hoogasian says to cut the stems diagonally at the bottom. if your flowers don't come with plant food, you can add various household items to the water like a few drops of bleach to kill any bacteria in the vase and a dash of clear soda, like Sprite or 7Up, or even a few tablespoons of sugar.


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