How to Extend the Life of Cut Roses

When stumped for a gift idea, send roses.

When stumped for a gift idea, send roses.

Although roses are closely tied to Valentine’s Day and, thus, romance, they are the ideal gift any time of the year. Of course, a dozen long-stemmed red roses is the perfect way to show your love for someone, but yellow roses bring cheer, while white roses make an elegant statement. Roses are such a special gift, most recipients want to keep them fresh for as long as possible. With a bit of preparation before placing them in the vase and a few minutes of daily maintenance, it’s possible to greatly extend the life of cut roses.

Step 1

Wash the vase in warm, soapy water and scrub the inside. A bottle brush is the ideal tool for narrow vases. Scrub the inside of the vase until all residue from previous bouquets is removed.

Step 2

Soak the vase for five minutes in a solution containing one cup of household bleach in one gallon of water. After soaking, rinse the vase in hot water.

Step 3

Use sterilized pruning shears to cut the bottom half inch of each rose stem. Make the cut at a 45-degree angle, and place each stem into a bucket of lukewarm water immediately after cutting. The water should cover most of the length of the stem but not the flower.

Step 4

Plunge the shears beneath the water and cut another half inch from the bottom of each stem. Don’t remove them from the water to cut them; make the cut, at a 45-degree angle, beneath the water.

Step 5

Remove any foliage that will be below the water line when the roses are vased.

Step 6

Place the bucket in a cool, dark area for one hour.

Step 7

Place the roses, still in the water, in the refrigerator for two or more hours.

Step 8

Add a floral preservative to the water in the vase before arranging the roses. According to a study published in “Science Daily,” preservatives prolong the life of roses for an additional two to three days.

Step 9

Change the water in the vase and add fresh preservative daily. Before placing the roses into the fresh water, hold each stem under running water and cut off the bottom half inch, at a 45-degree angle.

Step 10

Place the rose bouquet in a cool area, away from heater vents and direct sun. Place the arrangement in the refrigerator each evening and allow it to remain until morning.

Things Needed

  • Vase
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Bottle brush or scrubbing sponge
  • Household bleach
  • Small bucket
  • Pruning shears
  • Floral preservative

References & Resources

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Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/ Images


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