Question 8/10 in Care and Handling Of Specific Flowers FAQs



How do you care for Roses?


Unpack and process roses immediately upon arrival to reduce water stress. Water deprivation and room temperatures can result in greatly reduced vase life, severe Botrytis (a fungal disease) on petals, and flowers that either open too rapidly or fail to open at all.

Cleanliness is very important. Thoroughly wash your buckets, cutting tools and work surfaces before processing roses. Bacteria will contaminate floral solutions, ultimately clogging stem ends and inhibiting water uptake.

Remove the rubber band or twist tie around the stems as well as leaves and thorns that will fall below the water line in containers—but only those leaves because foliage is beneficial to the flowers and increases vase life. Gently remove foliage and thorns with a plastic stripper or a soft cloth, being careful to not puncture or strip away bark; this impedes water uptake and allows microorganisms to enter the flower’s vascular system.

Recut the ends of the rose stems on an angle with a clean, sharp blade (** NOT A CLIPPERS **), removing at least 1 inch of stem. Immediately place into clean buckets filled with 6 to 12 inches (depending on stem length and container depth) of warm (100 F to 110 F) and flower food mixed according to package directions. Roses are exceptionally thirsty flowers.

When mixed and used properly, rose food can nearly double the vase life of cut roses, reduce bent neck, maintain color, and prevent leaf and petal drop. Immediately after processing, place roses in a cool dark place and allow them to hydrate for at least two hours before designing with them.

TIP: Leave the guard petals on until you are close to designing with them. Guard petals protect the innner bloom from damage due to handling but also inhibit a flower's ability to open. Removing them initiates a signal to the flower to start opening.

Some varieties are sensitive to ethylene  so you should keep them away from fruit and vegetables, decaying flowers or foliage and cigarette smioke.

BENT NECK AND FAILURE TO OPEN: Bent neck (the wilting of the stem immediately below the flower head) and failure of blooms to open are probably the most recognized problems associated with roses. There are a number of causes:

  • Lack of water flowing into the bloom because of bacteria-clogged stem ends, usually a result of failure to recut stems and/or failure to use flower food.
  • Severe water or temperature stress during transportation.
  • Storing roses too long, especially at high temperatures.
  • Exposure to ethylene gas.

Once bent neck occurs, roses can sometimes recover if stems are recut under water and the entire stems and flowers are float soaked or submerged in room-temperature water for 20 to 30 minutes.

VASE LIFE: Display roses away from heat sources, and recut the stems and change the rose-food solution every other day.

BOTANICAL NAME: Rosaspp. and hybrids (ROW-za)