How to Clean Roses for Flower Arrangements


Roses have charmed and enchanted people for centuries and have grown to be one of the floral symbols for love and romance. Clean and prune a handful of cut roses so you can craft a breathtaking flower arrangement. With the right preparation, you can help ensure your cut roses last as long as possible and retain their vibrant hues, whether it's a white, yellow, coral or red rose.

Step 1

Fill a gallon-sized bucket with room temperature water. Water that is warm will stimulate the roses to open more, decreasing their shelf life.

Step 2

Submerge the roses, placing them in the water stem-first. Move the flowers from side to side to gently rinse off any debris that may be on the roses. If you insert the roses headfirst, the water pressure and water movement may damage the delicate petals.

Step 3

Remove the roses and place them on a stack of newspaper or paper towels.

Step 4

Use pruning shears to cut off any wilted or broken leaves. Remove the guarder petals on the outside of the flower head; these green-tinted petals only serve to hide the rose's vibrant colors. Use your fingers and manually snap off each thorn on the rose stem.

Step 5

Fill a vase with water. Add standard cut flower food, available from most garden stores and nurseries, to hydrate and feed the cut roses and keep them healthy longer. Cut an inch off of the bottom of the rose stem at a 45-degree angle, and place the roses in the vase.

Things You'll Need

  • Bucket
  • Water
  • Pruning shears
  • Newspapers or paper towels
  • Cut flower food
  • Vase


  • "The Ultimate Rose Book"; Stirling Macoboy and Tommy Cairns; 2007
  • "The Complete Guide to Flower Arranging"; Jane Packer; 1999

Who Can Help

  • The American Rose Society
Keywords: clean cut roses, clean rose flowers, prepare cut roses

About this Author

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.