Roses are among the most popular cut flowers in the world, but not all species and varieties of roses are suitable for cut flowers. Professional growers and home gardeners look for some of the same traits--beautiful blooms, toughness, drought tolerance and resistance to pests and diseases. Professionals also look for varieties that have long stems, can withstand the rigors of transport and handling, and will survive a relatively long time in a vase. Other considerations may include fashionable colors and fragrance.
Long-Stemmed Red Roses
Long-stemmed red roses, usually sold by the dozen, are the traditional florist rose. These are usually hybrid-tea types, with long stems, pointed and tightly furled buds, and a single large flower on every stem. While they are dramatic in appearance, most long-stemmed red roses have little or no scent.
Mixed-color assortments of long-stemmed hybrid tea roses can usually be found at any time of the year. The most popular colors for these blossoms are pink, yellow, peach and cream. Mixed color arrangements can be keyed to particular seasons and holidays, like pastels for Easter or darker, richer colors for fall and winter.
These roses have much smaller, more delicate heads than the hybrid teas and are often sold in larger bunches. Originally a single rose variety, 'Cecile Brunner,' was known as the "sweetheart rose." Now the term applies to any small rose with hybrid-tea type blossoms.
Breeder/grower David Austin has pioneered the merchandising of "old-fashioned" English roses for the commercial market. These flowers generally have many more petals than the hybrid tea types and a more relaxed look. The stems may be a little shorter, but some old-fashioned varieties have the added appeal of fragrance--missing from most commercial roses.
The Feb., 12, 2010, Seattle Times Online article, "David Austin Helps Return Fragrance to Mass-Market Flowers," said that the Austin-bred cut roses stay fresh up for five days after delivery. Susan Rushton, head of marketing for David Austin Roses said "the stronger the fragrance, the shorter the vase life. "