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.
Cut roses in the evening or early in the morning. Avoid cutting roses in the heat of the day when they are easily wilted.
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.
Keep a clean container of warm water with you as you cut the roses. Place the roses into the water immediately.
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.
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.
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.
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.