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How to extend the life of cut roses

It’s my birthday today so I thought I’d blog about one of my favorite things, roses!  I love all flowers but I’d have to say roses are probably my favorite.  They come in a variety of colors to suit your mood, look great alone or arranged with other flowers, and you can easily grab them at most grocery stores.  Nothing brightens my mood more than having roses in our home.

If you follow my blog regularly you know we’ve been going through a massive home remodel in our new Colorado home.  It’s been hard, things have been unorganized and dirty with construction dust everywhere.  Through all the chaos I’ve made sure to keep a vase of roses in a few rooms.  These beautiful flowers have kept me focused and happy through the mess… I call that rose therapy!

How to extend the life of cut roses

Let’s face it though, if you’re like me and love keeping fresh cut roses in your home it’s not cheap!  The cost certainly adds up, but I’ve learned lots of tricks through the years on how to extend the life of your roses.

Below I’ll give you my 10 favorite tips on how to keep these beauties fresh and lovely for as long as possible.

1. Keep the roses in water on the way home.  I know this is a hassle but keeping roses in water while driving home greatly extends the life, especially if you have a long drive home.  You can keep a small bucket with a little water in the bottom if you plan ahead.  You can also pour a little water in the flower wrapper bags which are available at most grocery stores.  Double or triple bag it, to avoid any leaks.

2. Proper cutting is essential.  Roses must always be trimmed before displaying them and sharp clean floral shears or scissors are essential.  Cut at a clean 45 degree angle to help with water absorption, and take care not to tear or crush the stem as this can promote bacteria.  Be sure to keep leaves out of out of the water line as this will also promote bacteria growth.

3. Trim rose stems in water.  When roses are cut and exposed to air a scab can form which prohibits water absorption.  A simple solution is to cut the stems in a bowl of water or under running water, then immediately transfer to a vase.  Repeat the process if needed to adjust the height of your roses.

4. Always use floral food.  When purchasing flowers make sure to use the little packet of powdered floral food.  I’m a huge fan of liquid flower food, I find it much quicker to mix and a bottle lasts a long time.

5. Keep the water clean.  Having clean water free of bacteria is crucial for prolonging the life of your roses.  Be sure to switch out the water every few days water and be sure that leaves of the stem and any falling petals are kept out of the water.

6. Display in a suitable location.  Keep your roses happy in a cool area and out of direct sun.  Keep away from fruit and houseplants because they emit ethylene gas which can cause your roses to wilt prematurely.

7. Stay hydrated.  Roses are very thirsty and need a lot of water to stay hydrated, you need monitor water levels daily.  Rose petals absorb water and can help hydrate your arrangement as well.  Mist a few times a day with a spray bottle to keep your roses fresh and happy.

8. Always use a clean container.  Bacteria is the kiss of death for your roses.  It’s crucial to properly wash and sterilize flower vases and containers.  Wash all containers with hot soapy water, add a splash of bleach, rinse well, and dry.

9. Remove bad roses immediately.  Keep an eye out for any rose that is prematurely wilting and pull it out, just one bad rose can spread bacteria and ruin the entire bunch.

10. Refrigeration slows the aging process.  Anytime you’ll be gone for an extended period of time use your refrigerator to extend the life of your roses. You can also do this overnight while sleeping, just remember not to put them near any fruits or vegetables!

How to extend the life of cut roses

I love the impact of a large rose arrangement, but a great budget tip is to create smaller bundles of 2 or 3 roses in smaller containers, and often I’ll just do a single rose bud.  I can stretch a dozen roses into several rooms this way and keep the cost down.  Some specialty grocery stores like Central Market will sell individual roses which is another budget saver.

I have a large collection of unique vases and containers for flower arranging.  I thought I’d share some of my very favorites below with you. I especially have a passion for Rosenthal mini vases.  They hold 2-3 flowers and add dramatic style!

Try these tips and you’ll be amazed how much longer your roses will last!