Giving cut flowers on Valentine’s Day is big business. It’s estimated to be worth more than $400 million. Probably the most popular cut flowers given on Valentine’s Day are roses. If you were fortunate enough to receive a beautiful bouquet of cut flowers for Valentine’s Day, you’ll want to have those flowers last as long as possible. To keep the flowers fresh, follow these guidelines:

Water: As soon as you receive your cut flowers, put the stems in lukewarm water. For roses in particular, recut the bottoms of the stems at a 45-degree angle under water. This helps prevent air bubbles from getting into the stems. Air bubbles can block the flow of water to the flowers. If your flowers are totally wilted when you receive them, simply submerge the entire flower-stems, flower, and all-under warm water in a tub for a few minutes to rehydrate them.

Vase: Unless your flowers came in a vase, choose one that is large enough for the bouquet. Flowers crammed into a small vase may look full at first, but the flowers won’t have as much room to open and fill out over time.

Fertilizer: You will often receive small packets of fertilizer to mix in with the water for your flowers. Use them. These packets contain sugar to help keep the flowers fresh and antibacterial chemicals to slow the growth of bacteria that can block the flow of water up the stems. You can also make your own solution by mixing 1 tablespoon of sugar with 1 teaspoon of bleach in 1 gallon of water. Some people have had success using soda, such as Sprite, which contains both acid to kill bacteria and sugar to feed the flowers.

Care: Change the water daily, if possible. With every change of water, recut the bottom of the stems under water to encourage the remaining flowers to open. Remove spent flowers as they fade to keep the bouquet looking fresh.