The Q&A Archives: Roses

Question: I just received some roses from my boyfriend. I was told there are certain ways to make them last longer. I know they are supposed to be in warm water........did I hear something about lemon juice and bleach? Thank you for helping me make my beauties last.........

Answer: The early treatment and care provided to cut flowers is important to their lasting in the vase, as are handling procedures during the shipping and retail process, as is the care they receive one you have them at home.

The most important thing you can do is to keep them cool and out of direct sun. Some flower lovers will go to the extent of putting their rose bouquet in the refrigerator at night. Do not allow them to freeze, however.

You may also recut the stems with a sharp knife (avoid crushing the stems) while holding them under water and then give them a preservative as would be done for freshly cut flowers.

Freshly harvested flowers should be placed in lukewarm water that has a floral preservative added. If floral preservatives are used, put the flowers in plastic (or glass -- a nonreactive material) containers. Many floral preservatives will react with a metal container. Three to 4 inches of water and preservative mix in a pail works well. Floral preservative can be made from scratch; either 1 teaspoon bleach and 1 tablespoon sugar mixed into a gallon of water, or 1 cup 7-up in 1/2 gallon of water. You may also use a commercial preservative available in small packets from florists. Flowers should be cooled to less than 60 F within one hour of harvesting, preferably sooner, to prevent wilting. Similar cool temperatures during the display period will also help them last longer.

Enjoy your roses!

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