Roses are one of the most beautiful flowers and they elevate any setting in which cut arrangements are placed. When cut with clean tools, conditioned and placed in a cool location, roses can last for a week or more. Maintaining moisture in the stem and preventing bacterial buildup in the vase are the two main tasks of cut rose care. Short daily maintenance will ensure the longest possible vase life.
Harvest roses with clean sharp secateurs or scissors to prevent the transfer of bacteria to the exposed flesh. Wipe blades down with isopropyl alcohol if in doubt before cutting. Make clean cuts in one pass on the bias to expose the widest entry point for water into the stem.
Strip any leaves that will fall below the waterline when in the vase to prevent bacterial accumulation. Place roses immediately into a clean vase filled with cool to tepid water.
Add commercial floral preservative to the vase water or make your own by mixing 1 teaspoon sugar and 2 small drops of liquid household bleach for every half gallon of vase water. Agitate to mix into the water well.
Recut the stems under a running faucet or a sink filled with water--removing at least 1/4 inch up to 1 inch of stem, again cutting on the bias. This will ensure that air pockets are not obstructing water uptake.
Place roses back into the vase immediately. Place the rose-filled vase out of direct sunlight in a cool room. Replace the vase water with preservative every day for best results. Recut the stems daily or every other day--removing 1/4-inch of stem, again cutting on the bias, under flowing or pooled water. Remove any leaves that drop below the vase water line now that the stems are shorter.