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Tips to Make Roses Last Longer

By Shannon Reynolds
Make your cut roses last longer.
red roses image by Maria Brzostowska from Fotolia.com

Red roses are among the loveliest flowers to have in a home, but once they're cut they don't last very long. They usually dry out or suffer bacterial infections and die. But you can prolong the beauty and vibrancy of cut roses through a combination of proper maintenance and home remedies.

Cut the Stems

Before placing the roses in a vase, cut off the ends of the stems so that they will soak up water better. Change the water every two or three days and continue to trim the ends from the stems every few days to prevent bacteria from clogging up the stems. Clogged stem ends will stop the roses from soaking up enough water.

Remove Leaves

Cut off any leaves or green sprouts that are not part of the stems that will be in the water. These bits of unnecessary green soak up the water in the vase and keep it from going where it's needed most: to the rose petals. The aim of your rose life-support efforts revolves around slowing or preventing the growth of bacteria in the vase that stop the roses from absorbing enough water to stay alive. Any additional plant or biological substance, such as the leaves, can only contribute to the growth of bacteria.

Feed the Flowers

Add store-bought flower food, such as Rose Buddy, or preservatives to vase water. If you don't have them, a number of homemade flower food substitutes will help keep the roses from wilting. Reader's Digest suggests 2 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar and 2 tbsp. of sugar. Aspirin, a tsp. of sugar, multivitamins, and some salt with baking soda may also help to preserve the roses.

Avoid Heat

Place the roses in a portion of the house or apartment that is away from heat and electronic devices that could cause the flowers to wither more quickly. This may extend the life of your flowers.


Strange as it may seem, Reader's Digest suggests dropping a few pennies into the vase with some sugar to inhibit the growth of bacteria. The copper in the pennies and the sugar help to inhibit bacteria and promote healthier flowers. The slower the bacteria in the vase grows, the longer the roses will be able to drink enough water to stay fresh and vibrant. Change the water and pennies every two or three days.


Reader's Digest suggests adding vodka with some sugar to the water in the flower vase. The growth of bacteria will slow as long as the vodka and sugar are present, which will extend the life of your roses. A few drops of vodka or other clear, hard liquor should do. Reader's Digest says the vodka and sugar have the same bacteria-reducing influence that copper pennies and sugar do. Remember to add new vodka and sugar every time you change the water.


Do you like soda? Your roses do, too. Using a clear soda such as Sprite, 7-Up, or some other citrus soda with no color to it in your water provides enough sugar to sustain the flowers. You have to add new soda every time you change the water, however. The sugar in the soda will reduce the growth of bacteria.


About the Author


Shannon Reynolds has been writing regularly since 1999, and received her first editing job for "Perceptions" magazine in 2008. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing and literature from Southwest Minnesota State University. She currently attends Antioch University where she'll earn her Master of Fine Arts in poetry.