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How to Take Care of Roses in Vases

By Deborah Harding ; Updated September 21, 2017
Place roses in a clear vase.
red roses in the glass vase on wooden floor image by Jane September from Fotolia.com

Good quality roses cost a great deal of money, so they should last for quite some time in a vase full of water. With the right kind of care and preparation, they can last for 2 and up to 3 weeks. You can do several things to keep cut roses going strong, including adding substances to the water that will help them look fresh longer.

Never use a pail that has had cleaning solution in it; keep one especially for the garden.
bucket image by Aleksandr Ugorenkov from Fotolia.com

Cut the ends of the stem. When roses are received they are sometimes in individual water tubes. Remove them, because the water will soak up fast. Fill a clean bucket with room-temperature water. Place the stems of the roses in the bucket and while they are still under water, cut the stems with a sharp knife about 1 1/2 to 2 inches from the bottom at an angle. The stems can also be cut under running water in the sink, but it is not quite as successful. The cut is made under water so that air bubbles will not go up the stem and prevent water from being sucked up into the stem to the flower. The cut is at an angle so that when the stems hit the bottom of the vase there is still an area away from the vase that can conduct water up the stem.

Make sure all leaves are out of the water.
bunch of roses image by Elena Vdovina from Fotolia.com

Remove any leaves that might be below the water line in the vase. Leaves carry harmful bacteria and chemicals which will make the roses deteriorate much faster. Pick them off carefully, making sure not to damage the green bark of the stem. If that happens, a bubble can enter the stem and prevent water intake to the flower.

Add the floral preservative that came with the roses. Preservative can be purchased separately from flowers at a florist or garden center. Follow the directions as to how much to mix with water and add the preservative to room-temperature water. The preservative adds sugar to nourish the flower, bleach to keep away harmful bacteria and acid that balances the pH level of the tap water. All of this improves the longevity of the blooms.

Water in the vase should be crystal clear.
red rose in glass vase image by Maria Brzostowska from Fotolia.com

Add water and more preservative when needed. After just one day, the roses will suck up about half the water in the vase. Days after will not be as extreme. Add just a little water after the first day, then add water with preservative when needed. If the water gets cloudy, replace all water immediately.


Things You Will Need

  • Roses
  • Large vase
  • Sharp knife
  • Bucket of water
  • Floral preservative
  • Water


  • If the rose blooms droop, there may be a bubble inside the stem that is stopping water from being absorbed. Take the rose out of the vase and cut under water in a bucket. Then just float the bloom above water while letting the stem hang in the water. In about 1 hour it should be good as new.
  • If the preservative has run out, crush an aspirin and dissolve it in warm water and use this water in the vase. Do not use Tylenol--it must be regular aspirin.


  • Do not use a dull knife or dull scissors when cutting the stems. The cut needs to be precise so that no scab will grow over the cut and prevent the flower from getting water.
  • Do not put the vase on top of the TV or anything that produces heat. The flowers will die in just a few hours in some cases. They need to be kept cool, so keep them out of direct sunlight as well.

About the Author


Deborah Harding has been writing for over nine years. Beginning with cooking and gardening magazines, Harding then produced a gardening and cooking newsletter and website called Prymethyme Herbs in 1998. Published books include "Kidstuff" and "Green Guide to Herb Gardening." She has a Bachelor of Music from Youngstown State University and sings professionally.