How to Keep Roses Alive Longer


Red roses symbolize a love that is true, everlasting, unconditional, passionate, and pure. With such important feelings expressed by the gift of a bouquet, it is natural to want the blooms to last as long as possible. Other color roses, such as blue roses that symbolize uniqueness and admirability, are also very beautiful, and displaying them in your home with the blossoms healthy and vibrant creates a warm atmosphere.

But cut flowers have limited lifespans. Once they are removed from their parent plant, their source of hydration and nutrients is severed. For this reason, to make roses last longer, you must practice several very important techniques. With proper rose care, a gorgeous bouquet of roses can last for a week or more. Below we discuss the techniques for extending cut roses’ longevity, both for flowers purchased from a florist and fresh roses cut from your own back yard.


Preserving Your Store-Bought Roses


Purchasing your roses from a florist comes with many advantages. They have been well cared for and professionally cut from the parent plant. The roses are packaged in materials that keep them fresh by providing protection, water, and nutrients. You can rest assured that you have high-quality roses. So long as you follow the below steps, your fragrant and beautiful bouquet will provide you with much joy.


When You Get the Bouquet Home


Roses provide one of the most fragrant and aesthetically pleasing displays for your home. However, without proper water, flower food, and placement, they are apt to wilt after only a few days. To make them stand tall for a week or longer, follow the below procedures:

  1. Remove the Plastic Liner

This liner protects the flowers during shipment. When you get the roses home, pull the liner carefully over the top of the bouquet to avoid damaging the roses.

  1. Remove the Floral Foam

The floral foam contains the water and nutrients the roses need while in transit. Once ready for the vase, this foam is no longer needed. Start by removing the bag that covers the foam, then pull the foam out quickly. You need to pull quickly to catch any excess foam that could spill onto the counter or floor.

  1. Rinse the stems to remove excess foam.
  2. Remove the guard petals.

The guard petals are those petals on the outside of the rose that remain on the roses during shipping to provide protection. Taking them off will allow the rose to fully open up.

  1. Cut the stems.

This is especially important. The roses need to absorb water while in the vase, and cutting the stems allows this to happen. To cut stems properly, first place them under a running faucet, then hold them at an angle and cut 1 inch off the bottom of the stems. The cutting opens the flower’s pores, which allows them to absorb water. Holding them at an angle aids in this process.

  1. You’ll want to remove the extra foliage from the stems, so it does not contaminate the water in the vase. In addition, any foliage underwater in the vase takes water away from the beautiful blossoms, which can leave you with wilted roses far too early. 
  2. Fill the vase.

You want to use room temperature water to ensure healthy flowers.

  1. Add the flower food.

Florists include a flower food packet with each rose order. These are packed with the nutrients your roses need to not just survive but to thrive. Without the flower food, your roses are doomed to a short life.

  1. Pick where to display them.

You want the roses to have access to sunlight, but do not put them under direct sunlight, as it dries them out and causes them to wilt too quickly. Find a bright place away from direct sunlight in a cool room. Roses also get dried out if left in hot places, so make sure they away from any heat vents or other sources of warmth. Once displayed, rotate the vase a few times per day to ensure each rose gets equal exposure to sunlight.


Why Plant Food Is So Important


Your roses need three elements to survive: carbohydrates, biocides, and acidifiers. Carbohydrates provide the fuel for cell metabolism; biocides fight off bacteria in the water, and acidifiers lower the H20’s pH balance, which helps flowers absorb water more efficiently. These three elements are included in the flower food provided by the florist so that your beautiful bouquet can remain healthy for a week or more.

Flower food packets often contain sugar. Sugar is an important ingredient because flowers use it to generate the energy needed to remain healthy and strong. 


However, sugar also feeds bacteria. Once the water in the vase is contaminated with bacteria, the flowers are in danger. Biocides included in the plant food help combat this problem, but eventually, the bacteria will gain a foothold. To prevent this, it is key to change the water regularly and disinfect the vase.

Changing the Water


Be sure to visually inspect the water daily. If the water becomes discolored or misty, it is time to change the water. This indicates bacteria have moved in. Regardless of the water’s appearance, you should change the water every two to three days.

When changing the water, be certain to also disinfect the vase with bleach. The bacteria often still cling to the vase sides after the dirty water is dumped out. Bleach will remove this bacterium and make the water stay clean longer, and your roses stand taller.


Caring for Baby’s Breath Flowers Included in the Bouquet


Baby’s Breath flowers are ephemeral, stunning, and refreshing. It is sought after for weddings and other special occasions but may also appear in a rose bouquet. When included in the bouquet, they make a beautiful addition, providing aesthetics and filling any extra spaces.

To ensure your Baby’s Breath bouquet flowers last a long time, follow the same initial care steps you do for the roses. 


How to Make a Rose Bouquet from Your Garden Last Longer


The procedures are largely the same as with store-bought flowers, but you do not need to remove the packaging, and you also may not have any flower food. Many strong commercial brands sell flower food, so if you order some before you collect your homemade bouquet, you simply have to follow the same steps in cutting the stems and changing the water.

Making homemade flower food is another great option. It saves money, and you can assemble your bouquet right away. The needed ingredients are found in most households. Here is what you need:

1 Teaspoon Sugar

Sugar is the flower’s energy source, so this is essential.

1 Teaspoon Household Bleach

This is your bacteria fighter. With bleach in the mix, bacteria counts are kept to a minimum.

2 Teaspoons Lemon or Lime Juice

Lemon or lime juice lowers the pH balance of the vase water. With a low pH balance, your roses will stay hydrated and happy.

Mix these into 1 quart of lukewarm water and apply the solution to the vase water. Voila, you have your own brand of flower food.

Other Pro Tips for Extending the Life and Quality of a Rose Bouquet


Get Some Help from Honest Abe.


How can the author of the Emancipation Proclamation possibly help your rose bouquet, you ask?

Because Abraham Lincoln is pictured on the penny. Prior to 1983, the U.S. Mint produced pennies with 95% copper content. Copper serves as an acidifier, which means it reduces the pH balance in the water. A lower pH balance helps roses absorb water more efficiently, resulting in healthy, beautiful, and long-lasting bouquets.

Unfortunately, the U.S. Mint began producing pennies with zinc instead of copper after 1983, so you need to check the date on the penny before dropping it into the vase. Zinc has no known properties that benefit roses.

Resist the Temptation to Touch the Flowers


Our skin collects oil on its surface, many of which can damage roses.

Display Far from Fruits and Vegetables


They may taste good, but they also give off gases that can harm or kill roses.

The Bottom Line


Roses require tender loving care if they are to last long and remain unwilted. To keep them looking fine, remove them carefully from their packaging, then hold them at an angle underwater and one inch from the stems. This procedure allows the roses to absorb the water and nutrients from the flower food while in the vase. 

Once the roses are deposited in the vase, the main killer of roses are the bacteria that grow in the water. Changing the water every two to three days or when it becomes discolored is the key to lasting blooms. Disinfecting the vase with bleach and placing a copper penny in the vase also ward off bacteria.

Roses are an incredible flower species that represent love and goodness in the world. With a few flower care techniques, you can keep that love and goodness in your home for a long time.


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