Cut flowers say things to others for us, sometimes even things that we have a hard time expressing with mere words. We give them as gifts for celebrating birthdays, anniversaries and holidays. We offer them as remembrances of special dates, places and occasions. Long stem roses in particular are momentos presented as tokens of love and esteem. Although the beautiful blooms will ultimately fade, the events or emotions that they symbolize live on. With just a little care, your gorgeous roses will remain fresh much longer, allowing you to continue to savor their beauty and fragrance.
Place your long stem roses in a container of tepid water immediately, whether you just cut them from your own plants or have received a delivery.
Use clean, sharp pruning shears to re-cut the tips from the stems. Hold each tip under slowly running water and remove about ½ inch from the end with a 45-degree angle cut. This will provide the stem with maximum surface area for water absorption. Place it back into the container of water right away before moving on to the next cut rose.
Use a clean, sharp knife to remove leaves that would otherwise be immersed in a vase of water. If they’re allowed to remain on the stems of your roses, submerged leaves will begin to rot and provide a hospitable environment for bacteria. Trim one long stem rose at a time, replacing it back into the container of water right away.
Place the container of trimmed roses in a cool spot out of direct light for several hours or overnight. This will allow them to hydrate by absorbing plenty of water, and give them a chance to recuperate from handling.
Scrub a tall vase well with hot soapy water if it’s been used before. Rinse thoroughly and drain. Add 1 cup warm water, 1/2 teaspoon household bleach, 1 tablespoon mouthwash, and 1 cup of lemon-lime soda. The bleach helps to keep the water clear and prevent growth of bacteria, while the acidic mouthwash encourages the cut stems to absorb the solution. The sugary soda provides nourishment for the blooms.
Arrange the long stem roses in the prepared vase one by one. Set them in a cool room away from drafts and out of direct sun.
Change the solution in the vase every day. Prolong the lives of your long stem roses even further by re-cutting the tips from stems every 2 days. Cut off fading blooms as they wilt.