How to Cut a Rose Stem


Nothing quite matches the beauty and fragrance of fresh cut roses. When arranged with greenery and baby's breath, your arrangement sends the classic message of love. For a more informal bouquet, pink roses, daisies and forget-me-knots create a touch of old-fashioned romance reminiscent of wild roses. To keep those roses fresh you probably already know that you should use floral preservative. What you might not know is that how you cut the stem affects the vase life of your roses, too.

Step 1

Harvest roses in the morning or early evening. According to Texas A&M University, this is when flowers are at their freshest.

Step 2

Select roses that have just begun to open. Roses cut when the first petals begin to unfurl last longer in floral arrangements.

Step 3

Cut the stem to the desired length with a sharp knife. Allow an inch or two of extra length, as you will recut the stems before placing your roses in a vase.

Step 4

Place the rose stems under water to recut them. This prevents air from blocking the pores in the stem that carries water to the flower.

Step 5

Cut the stem on a 45-degree angle while holding it under water. Submerging the stems in a basin or bowl works well, but you can also cut them under running water. The object is to keep the cut end wet.

Step 6

Place the cut roses immediately in warm water with temperatures between 95 and 100 degrees F. Warm water travels up the stem quicker than cool water and freshens the flowers quickly. Allow the fresh cut roses to sit for 20 minutes in a cool dark area.

Step 7

Arrange the roses in a vase with fresh water and floral preservative. Move to a cool area at night to prolong the life of your roses.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden clippers
  • Sharp knife
  • Basin
  • Vase
  • Floral preservative


  • Texas A&M University: Cutting Roses
  • University of Rhode Island Extension: Cutting Roses from Your Garden

Who Can Help

  • American Rose Society
Keywords: cut rose stems, cut fresh roses, cut flower stems

About this Author

Nannette Richford is an avid gardener, teacher and nature enthusiast with 4 years experience in online writing and a lifetime of personal journals. She is published on various sites, including Associated Content. Richford holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Maine Orono and certifications in 7-12 English, K-8 General Elementary and Birth to age 5.