Over the span of his 30 years in the flower business, Rick Crosby has done his share of experimenting with roses.
Whether in his days as owner of Apollo Beach Flowers or at his current Riverview Florist location on U.S. 301, Crosby has learned a variety of ways to keep your roses lasting longer as he arranges between 200-300 bouquets this Valentine's Day.
Patch: You've been in the flower business the long time. Why in your opinion is the rose the best flower for Valentine's Day?
Crosby: It's the love flower. Red symbolizes love and passion, and it's the perfect flower to represent what this holiday is all about.
Patch: For those who perhaps don't like roses or just want to do something different, what are some good flowers to give your loved one on Valentine's Day?
Crosby: Tropical arrangements are very nice and of course the higher end flowers like hydrangeas, lillies or peonies. Something that is a little unusual from what you'll usually do.
Patch: What are some tips you might have for people as they receive their roses to make them last as long as possible?
Crosby: When the water starts to get a little cloudy, change it. If you have any Sprite or 7UP, it's good to mix it about half and half with tap water. The roses love the sugar, and it'll help them last longer. Then, after about two or three days, cut about a quarter of an inch off each stem and change the water. Keep them away from heat and vents and never set them on top of a television. The cooler you keep them, the longer they'll last.
Patch: Where do the flowers that most people buy come from?
Crosby: We actually get some from local growers in Palmetto, but most flowers are grown in South America. There are some coming from California as well now, but South America is still a big producer.
Patch: Other than color variations, are there different types of roses that people can buy?
Crosby: We actually have a newer variety, called "corazones" (hearts in Spanish), of roses that open up fully and are a bit bigger than a normal rose. They have about a 12-day vase life, so they are very long lasting. They always perform pretty well. We've been carrying them for about two years, and I've never had a complaint.
Patch: What do I do if a rose head begins to droop?
Crosby: If a rose head is going to droop, it's going to do it in the first 24 hours. The best thing to do is fill your sink with hot water, submerge the stem and cut about a quarter inch off. Then leave the flower for approximately 30 minutes in the hot water. Roses have a very woody stem, so it can be difficult for the water to get from the stem up to the head. This process can help rehydrate your rose.