Roses: Cut flower care
January 2nd, 2011 7:49 pm ET
‘Cut roses are a staple at any flower shop or department. Normally sold by the dozen, a bunch of roses at the florist
will run you around $50 while at most grocery stores that bunch will be around $12.99, with the local Safeway having
the lowest regular price for a dozen roses at $9.99. This week the best bargain in roses appears to be at the local
Giant at Eden Square in Bear, DE. Path Mark at College Square in Newark, DE has an 18 count bunch of roses on
sale for $12.99; but, the best price is still at Giant with their 12 count bunch of roses on sale for $7.99.
Roses are considered to have an average vase life; however, their vase life varies greatly from 3 to 14 days. Their
vase life depends on the variety of rose as well as the environment in which they were grown and the shipping and
handling methods used before you purchase them. This makes it important that you properly inspect the roses before
you purchase them. Due to the wide variety in vase life of roses it is important to do a physical inspection of a rose
rather than to rely on the date on the package.
1. Check the cut on the bottom of the stem, the darker the color the older the cut. If the cut appears black the
roses are far too old to purchase.
2. Look at the water the roses have been standing to see if it appears clear or has it become a breeding
ground for bacteria and mold.
3. Inspect the lower portion of the stem that has been in water to determine if it shows any mold growth or feels
4. Gently touch the rose heads to determine if they feel plump and full of water. Leaves should also feel plump
and full of water.
Once you arrive home you need to prepare a holding bucket for your roses to properly rehydrate them. Select a
bucket that is tall enough to support the height of your roses but is low enough to be below the heads of your roses.
Fill the bucket with about 3-4 inches of warm water of between 100° F and 110° F. add a couple drops of household
bleach to the water and allow the water to stand for a few minutes to allow the fluorine in the water to escape.
If the roses came in a plastic sleeve keep the sleeve on them to support the heads. If not, wrap a soft cardboard
around the heads and secure with a rubber band or string to hold the cardboard in place but not tight enough to dent
the rose heads.
Cut off the bottom 1 – 1 ½ inches of the stem of each rose at an angle and place the bunch in the warm water for at
least two hours to hydrate. The longer you allow the roses to hydrate the better. When not pressed for time I quite
often will allow my cut flower to hydrate for at least 6 hours and sometimes even overnight.
Roses that bend at the neck do so because they were not properly hydrated. If caught early enough, to correct this
you can roll the rose tightly in newspaper and rehydrate it again in warm water.
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Suggested by the author:
Care and Conditioning of Flowers & Foliage
Selecting the right flowers
Selecting the freshest flowers
Vase life for common flowers
Memorial Garden for the Fallen – Dover AFB