How to make fresh cut roses last as long as possible
We love fresh flowers. Depending on the season, you’ll find us collecting flowers anytime and anywhere we can find them. Whether it’s a shock of pink camellias from our garden, a handful of fragrant gardenias from a generous neighbor, or a dozen roses from a local florist, we love to have fresh flowers in every room.
Although roses stay at home in our favorite vases for a short time, they don’t always last long. Sooner rather than later, they start to wilt. The flowers begin to droop, and it is only a matter of time before the beautiful flowers end up in the compost pile. There are some tips out there to keep your cut flowers looking fresh longer, so read on and try these tricks on your next batch of roses, and you might enjoy them for another week or two.
Preparing the ship
It is important to clean the vase in which you plan to place your flowers. Wash the pot to rid it of any dirt, dust and grime to ensure your flowers get the best start possible. It’s all about letting fresh, clean water do its job of preserving those gorgeous blooms. In this regard, it is better to remain vigilant not only regarding maintaining a clean vase, but also about the water.
Use lukewarm water
When filling the vase, do not use water that is too hot or too cold. Extreme temperatures may shock the flowers and shorten their lives, so it is best to use lukewarm or room temperature water. The amount of water needed to fill the vase is also important – not too much or too little – so filling the vase 3/4 full with water is just fine.
Use flower food
Often, bouquets come with a packet of flower food designed to keep cut flowers looking fresh. These bags consist of sugar to nourish the flowers, citric acid to maintain the pH balance of the water, and bleach to keep the water clean. Dissolve the sachet in a vase of water before putting your flowers in – your flowers will thank you. If you do not have a package of cut flower food, you can purchase cut flower food at your local garden center or online.
Do you want to make your own food? There are many recipes you can make yourself that help your flowers last longer.
Vinegar-based flower food
Mix 2 tablespoons of sugar with 2 tablespoons of white vinegar to keep the flowers fresh. Sugar helps nourish the flowers and promotes bloom, while vinegar helps prevent bacterial growth to keep your flowers fresher longer. If vinegar or sugar is not available, lemon soda mixed with water will provide the same benefit, as long as it is not diet soda.
Vodka based flower food
As flowers age, they begin to produce their own bacteria as well as absorb bacteria from their surrounding environments, which can be detrimental to the plant’s health. Vodka actually acts as an antibacterial agent, This means that when mixed with flowers, it will kill harmful bacteria on the stems and help promote healthy flower growth. Do not spend. Only a few drops are needed.
A popular recipe for homemade flower food combines 1 quart of water, 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon or lime juice, 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar, and 1/2 tablespoon of household bleach.
This mixture provides a similar range of benefits to store-bought flower food. It helps nourish flowers, prevent bacterial growth, and maintain a lower pH level in the water. Just be sure to mix these ingredients well before using the solution as a vase filler or for arrangements containing floral foam.
Remove the leaves and guard the petals, but keep the thorns
Removing extraneous leaves and guard petals will conserve the flowers’ energy. Florists sometimes leave guard petals, the outer petals on roses, to protect them during transport. The guard petals may be green or slightly brown.
“They are easy to spot and can easily be confused with wilted or dying petals. It is important to remember that these sentinel petals are not a reflection of the health or quality of the roses,” says rose grower Vivarose. All you have to do is remove them carefully. “If you want to remove a protective petal, grab it by the base and gently pull it toward the stem so as not to damage the rest of the flower,” explains 1-800-Flowers.
Aside from the protective petals, remove leaves below the water line, if leaves are in standing water, this encourages bacterial growth. Do not remove the thorns of the rose.
Trim the stems
Roses need to be kept moist, but once they are cut, air bubbles form that can block the flow of water to the stems, which can cause drooping. There are several ways to trim stems to reduce the formation of air bubbles. Either cut the ends of the rose and put them in the water immediately, or cut them while they are in the water. Cutting the tips at a 45 degree angle will make it easier for the flowers to absorb water and will keep them looking their best longer. When working with roses, use shears to make sharp cuts on the stems.
Change the water
Changing the water regularly will help keep your flowers fresh. When changing the water, be sure to remove spent leaves and fallen petals. Debris left in the water can rot and shorten the life of your flowers. Florists recommend changing the water every few days, especially if it’s cloudy, to keep the water fresh, and when you do, it’s a good time to re-trim the stems and add flower food to the fresh water.
Keep roses cool
Roses generally like cool temperatures. Whatever you do, keep the flowers out of direct sunlight and out of hot or cold air. Overnight, florists recommend refrigerating the roses or placing them in the coolest, dark place you can find.
With proper care, Bogus florists say fresh cut roses should last 7 to 10 days. For more tips and old wives’ tales on keeping cut flowers fresh, check out these 9 Cut Flower Secrets. Having a vase of flowers can instantly liven up a room. Check out these tips for arranging grocery store bouquets including how to cut flowers for professional-looking arrangements.
What is the preservation of your flowers? Do you have any tips and tricks for keeping your roses looking fresh?