How to Care for a Cut Rose


Part of the joy of raising roses is cutting the flowers, either to bring indoors or give them as a gift. Some beginning rose gardeners will cut a rose, stick it in water and then wonder why it doesn't stay fresh beyond a day. Preparing cut roses to last involves knowing when to cut the roses, how to cut them, what to put them in, and how to care for them once they are in the vase.

Step 1

Cut roses in the evening or early in the morning. Avoid cutting roses in the heat of the day when they are easily wilted.

Step 2

Cut roses that are in a bud state, with several outer petals loosened and the green sepals holding the bud turned down. Cut the stems 1 to 2 inches longer than the vase they will be placed in to allow for further trimming.

Step 3

Keep a clean container of warm water with you as you cut the roses. Place the roses into the water immediately.

Step 4

Trim the stems on the roses under warm running water. Cut them at a 45 degree angle, using either pruning shears or a sharp knife. Return them to the container of warm water.

Step 5

Fill a clean flower vase with warm water and a floral preservative. Horticulturist James Schmidt at the University of Illinois suggests making a preservative by mixing 2 tablespoons of white vinegar, 2 teaspoons of sugar, ½ teaspoon bleach and 1 quart of water.

Step 6

Set the cut roses in the vase of water and preservative and remove any leaves that touch the water. Place the vase out of direct sunlight.

Step 7

Check the water level daily and replenish if it gets below half full. Pour out cloudy water, clean the vase, discard faded flowers, and recut the other roses before putting them back in the vase.

Tips and Warnings

  • Throw all rose debris into the trash; do not add to the compost.

Things You'll Need

  • Container with warm water
  • Pruning shears or sharp knife
  • Clean flower vase
  • Floral preservative, commercial or homemade


  • "Ortho's All About Roses;" Dr. Tommy Cairns; 1999
  • "Botanica's Roses;" William A. Grant; 2000

Who Can Help

  • Care of Cut Flowers and Foliage
Keywords: care of cut roses, cut roses, floral preservative

About this Author

Since 1995, H.B. Dean has written more than 2,000 articles for publications including “PB&J,” Disney’s “Family Fun,” “ParentLife,” Living With Teenagers,” and Thomas Nelson’s NYTimes Best-selling “Resolve.” After 17 years of homeschooling her five children, Dean discovered that motherhood doesn’t stop with an empty nest.