Taking Care of Fresh Cut Roses


Nothing brings elegance and beauty to the home faster than a bouquet of beautiful, fresh-cut roses. Roses are available all year long, and make a popular gift for any occasion. If you have roses in your garden, you have a ready supply of the sweet-smelling blooms all summer. Whether cut roses are from the florist or the garden, they will last a very short time without proper care. By implementing a few basic techniques, you can enjoy roses in all their glory for up to 10 days.

Step 1

Cut roses in your garden during the cool of the morning, or late in the evening. Place the roses in a container of warm water immediately. Don't worry if you don't have time to arrange the roses, just get them into water as soon as possible.

Step 2

Prepare a vase for the fresh-cut roses. Scrub it well with hot, soapy water to remove any bacteria, and fill it about three-quarters full with warm water.

Step 3

Add a package of flower food to the vase and allow it to dissolve. If you're using a large vase, add two packets of flower food. Flower food is included if you purchase roses from a florist. Or, purchase the packets in a garden center if you grow your own roses. Flower food is important, because it not only feeds the roses, but kills bacteria and maintains the proper pH of the water.

Step 4

Hold the stems under warm water, and using a sharp knife, cut the bottom of the stems at an angle, removing about 1 inch of stem. Cutting the stems at an angle provides a larger surface to soak up water.

Step 5

Arrange the freshly cut roses in the vase. Pinch off any leaves that will be under the water, as leaving them there invites bacteria and will shorten the life of your fresh-cut roses.

Step 6

Check the vase daily, and replenish the water with warm water as needed. Pour out the water in the vase every three days, and re-fill it with fresh, warm water and flower food. Before you put the roses back in the vase, put the stems under water and cut another inch off the bottom of the stem, again cutting at an angle.

Step 7

Keep your bouquet of freshly cut roses in a cool place. Avoid drafty areas, heating vents, air conditioners and direct sunlight. Remove petals as they become droopy.

Things You'll Need

  • Warm water
  • Vase
  • Packets of flower food
  • Sharp knife


  • Alabama Cooperative Extension: Fresh Cut Flowers and Plant Care
  • University of Illinois Extension: Take Care in Choosing, Preserving Cut Roses
  • 1-800-The Rose: Caring for Cut Roses
Keywords: fresh cut roses, rose care, vase water, flower food

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.