So you’ve received or cut a beautiful bouquet of roses -- you can’t wait to display them in your home, but you’re already a little bit sad thinking about how quickly they might wilt. You wish there was a way to make their beauty last a little longer. What if we told you there is?
Whether you’re getting a bouquet of roses from a florist or the grocery store or cutting flowers from your backyard, here are some tips for keeping your roses fresher longer.
Cutting Your Rose Bush
If you’re cutting your own flowers from the yard, there are a couple of tips and tricks to ensure your bouquet will have its maximum shelf life. You’ll want to be sure to water the rose bush the night before you intend to cut them -- flowers that are freshly watered will live longer than those that are thirsty.
Cleanliness is crucial to prevent potentially flower-killing bacteria so use Lysol or Clorox on your pruning shears before cutting to ensure that you are cutting your roses with the cleanest possible tools. Lastly, cool temperatures are crucial for floral longevity, so be sure to cut your flowers in the morning, preferably between the hours of 6 and 10 am. The hotter the weather, the earlier you should cut. When you cut, be sure to cut the stem at a sharp angle, as this will maximize water absorption in a vase.
Buying Roses from a Florist
If you are buying your roses, there are several things you can do at the florist to ensure your bouquet will last longer. Ask the florist which flowers in the shop are freshest/just arrived -- they will certainly last longer than something that’s been on the shelf for a few days.
Additionally, just as with cutting roses, you’ll want to opt for cooler temperatures, so select roses that are in a refrigeration unit over those that are sitting out at room temperature. If you’re able to handle your roses before purchasing a bouquet, there are a few things to look out for to ensure freshness--squeeze the stem at the base where the flower meets the stem and if it’s squishy/loose, the flowers are not fresh. You want to look for roses with a firm link between stem and flower head. Secondly, be on the lookout for bruised or brown petals -- this is a surefire sign of freshness and how quickly a flower will droop or die. If you can, it’s advisable to transport the roses home in water. Put a bucket with a few inches of water in the bottom in your car and place them in it immediately; if roses go without water, even for only ten minutes, they will lose freshness more rapidly.
Preparing Your Bouquet of Roses For Display
Now that you’ve cut or bought the roses in your bouquet, it’s time to prepare them for display. You will want to use pruning shears or a sharp knife to cut the stems, not scissors. Scissors tend to squeeze the stems, which can mean that they take in less water and die more quickly. Be sure the cutting implement is clean and free of bacteria that might precipitate your roses’ death. When you’re cutting the stems, cut them underwater to prevent air getting into the bottom of the stems. As with fruit, the second you cut a flower and air makes contact, it causes the deterioration process to begin.
Be sure to cut the stems at a 45 degree angle, which allows more water to get in. You will also want to remove all thorns (for safety) and leaves from the stems. A rose stem acts like a straw and if you leave the leaves, they will take the majority of the water, leaving the petals to dehydrate. Furthermore, if the leaves are underwater, they often rot, causing your bouquet to accumulate bacteria and die more quickly.
Cleanliness is also key with your water and your vase. Make sure the vase you are placing the bouquet in is pristine -- wash (and dry) with hot, soapy water and clean with a bottle brush to be sure it’s rid of bacteria from previous use. You’ll want to change out the water and re-cut the stems every day to increase longevity. If you don’t, bacteria will accumulate and stems will become less effective at absorbing water.
Lastly, when preparing your water for the vase, consider a few options. Use clean, cool water in the vase. There are many suggestions out there that aspirin, a penny, bleach, etc. will increase the life of your flowers, but tests suggest this is erroneous. Clear, clean water that you change every other day is the best way to ensure your flowers last over a week. If you’re so inclined, flower food or a ¼ teaspoon of vinegar can also help preserve the life of your flowers, just don’t overdo it. And be mindful that flower food often causes the flowers not to bloom all the way. Another option is to fill your vase with 7-Up instead of fresh water and change the soda every day--the sugars and carbonation have been proven to extend the life of a bouquet.
Keep Your Roses Lasting Over Time
Lastly, you’ll want to take care when displaying your flowers. The cool rule is also pertinent here. Keep your flowers out of direct sunlight or particularly warm rooms -- displaying them in a shady, cool spot will ensure they last longer. If you really want to maximize their life, you can even store them in the refrigerator overnight or when you’re not at home and bring them back out when you want to enjoy them.
If you notice them starting to wilt, it’s time to refresh the water and cut the stems again. Note, the shorter the stem, the longer the life of the rose (the water doesn’t have to travel so far), so even cutting the roses down to float in a bowl of water can be a way to keep the bouquet looking fresh and beautiful long after you cut or receive them.
Whether you’re cutting your own bouquet of roses from your beautiful garden or buying an arrangement from a florist or the grocery store, you want your bouquet to last a week of more. Follow all of the tips above and you’ll have a stunning floral display in your home for 7 days plus!