Caring for Roses

Just about everyone loves to get flowers, and for many roses are the ultimate symbols of love, commitment and thoughtfulness. If floral gifts have one drawback, however, it is the fact that their beauty is only fleeting. Unlike the love they symbolize, the roses themselves are not permanent, and in a week or so most roses will have wilted and lost their luster. With the right care, however, it is possible for the recipient of these floral gifts to make them last a bit longer.

One of the most important things for the recipient of the roses to do is to get those beautiful roses into water as quickly as possible. As soon as the roses arrive it is important to place them into a bowl of warm water. After the stems of the roses have been submerged in the water, the stems should be cut slantwise using a sharp knife, making sure that the stems remain under the water.

This cutting of the stems serves two important purposes. First of all, the slantwise cutting helps to ensure that the opening in the stems is large enough for them to draw in sufficient water, and secondly cutting the stems under the water helps to prevent the formation of air pockets that could prevent water from getting through.

While the roses are soaking in that bowl of warm water, take a suitable size vase full of warm water and add a packet of flower food or cut flower preservative. If no flower food or preservative is available, you can use a spoonful of sugar and a couple of drops of bleach instead. The bleach will help to kill any bacteria that may be present in the water. After the water has been prepared, place the roses in the vase and refrigerate it for two hours.

It is important to remove any leaves that fall below the waterline before you place those roses in the vase. It is important, of course, to leave the rest of the foliage intact, as the greens will help to enhance the beauty of the roses.

Thoughts on the removal of thorns will vary, but it may be a good idea to leave them on. Removing the thorns will cause tears in the stems, and that could allow harmful microorganisms to enter, thus reducing the life of the cut roses. Unless you will be handling the roses all the time, it is probably best to leave the thorns as they are.

How often you change the water can make a big difference in the life span of your cut roses. It is a good idea to change the water in the vase every day, or at least every other day. When you change the water, do not forget to add additional floral preservative, or the sugar and bleach mixture described above. Also be sure to cut off any leaves that have dropped below the waterline. Keeping dead leaves and other debris out of the vase will help the arrangement to keep its good looks much longer.