How to Preserve a Live Rose Bouquet


It is always a pleasure to receive a bouquet of roses as a gift or even to cheer yourself up with a dozen stems from the grocery store floral counter. The next thought invariably is how to keep them alive and preserve their beauty for as long as possible. With a bit of daily maintenance and mindful placement, roses can easily last a week in the vase.

Step 1

Prepare a clean vase filled with cool water and a small envelope dose of commercial floral preservative. Swirl the water with your hand to distribute and dissolve the preservative in the water.

Step 2

Make your own floral preservative by adding one tsp. white sugar and two drops of household chlorine bleach to the water, swishing to combine. The sugar feeds the flowers and the bleach will kill bacteria in the vase.

Step 3

Recut the rose stems under a running faucet or with the stem submerged in a sink filled with cool water. Remove at least 1/4-inch of the stem underwater to remove any air pockets or bubbles and improve the uptake of water through the stem to the flower head.

Step 4

Place the recut stems into the prepared vase water immediately.

Step 5

Change out the vase water with fresh water daily, adding more floral preservative with each change of water. Repeat the underwater recutting process each day before placing the roses back in the vase by removing 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch of the stem length.

Step 6

Place the roses in a location that is relatively cool and out of direct sunlight to extend their vase life.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Commercial floral preservative
  • Sugar
  • Household bleach
  • Vase
  • Secateurs or sharp scissors


  • University of Illinois
Keywords: preserve cut roses, extend life of rose bouquet, keep live vase flowers fresh

About this Author

An omni-curious communications professional, Dena Kane has more than 17 years of experience writing and editing content for online publications, corporate communications, business clients, industry journals, as well as film and broadcast media. Kane studied political science at the University of California, San Diego.