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How to Clean Roses for Flower Arrangements

By Joshua Duvauchelle ; Updated September 21, 2017
Clean and prepare a cut rose for a stunning flower arrangement.
Rose rose image by focusart.fr from Fotolia.com

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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 Will Need

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


  • Revive wilted, old cut roses. Soak the flowers underwater for 30 minutes. The rose's petals and leaves will absorb water and instantly perk up. This can add a day or two to the cut rose's lifespan.

About the Author


Joshua Duvauchelle is a certified personal trainer and health journalist, relationships expert and gardening specialist. His articles and advice have appeared in dozens of magazines, including exercise workouts in Shape, relationship guides for Alive and lifestyle tips for Lifehacker. In his spare time, he enjoys yoga and urban patio gardening.