By following a few simple steps, rose lovers can create beautiful bouquets of bright blooms that will last for a week, says Master Consulting Rosarian Kitty Belendez. One of the favorite cut flowers around the world, roses can also droop and drop their petals quickly if they are not handled correctly. Begin with healthy rose bushes and clean equipment, including your tools and the containers you will use.
Cutting the Roses
Give your rose bushes a good watering the night before you cut the flowers. This will fill their stems with water to reduce the shock of being cut and give them a firmness that will make their stems stand up in your bouquet.
Cut roses with sharp, sterilized pruners before the day gets hot and they lose moisture. In areas with morning dew, wait until the flowers have dried. Choose roses in the bud stage for long-lasting bouquets. For varieties with fewer petals, cut the buds just as they are unfurling. Cut blooms with more petals after they have opened more.
Put the cut roses in a container of warm water. Recut the stems while they are underwater to eliminate any air bubbles that plug stem cells. Remove the thorns and any leaves that will be below water level. Cut stems on an angle so they don't rest flat on the bottom of the vase.
Sanitize your vase by scrubbing all residue off the sides with a brush. Soak the vessel in 5-percent bleach solution for five minutes.
Put cut roses from your garden or florist in a container in a dark room. Immerse stems up to the flowers to soak up all the water they can. If the weather is warm, refrigerate flowers (at around 38 degrees F) for a few hours to condition them. Or store them in a cool room. In warm climates, refrigerate roses overnight to prolong their bloom.
Arrange your bouquet around three center blooms. Add three buds at the corners and another half dozen flowers around this center to create a tight circle. Add greenery like ferns around the outside. Tie green floral tape around the stems about 8 inches from the blooms and cut the stems 1 inch below that. Place the bouquet in a vase with 1 or 2 inches of warm water.
Change the water daily to remove the bacteria and prolong the life of your rose bouquet. Cut the stems 1/8 inch at least every other day. This keeps the stem cells open to drink the water and prevent wilt.
About this Author
TS Owen spent her career in journalism, winning the national Koop science writer award and penning articles in "Newsweek" and the "San Francisco Chronicle." She also served as an editor for a variety of publications in the San Francisco Bay Area and Banff, Alberta. Owen has a master's degree in English education.