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Rose Cutting Tips That Maximize Display Life

What could smell or look lovelier than a vase full of stunning roses? With just a little care, they can last a very long time in a vase.

5 Tips For Cutting Roses

  1. Wait until after 3 p.m. to cut, when their nutrient levels are the highest.
  2. Choose buds that have just started to open, only 1/3 to 1/2 of the way through the process. Once a bud has fully opened, it's too late to cut.
  3. Always use a sharp, clean pair of shears. Dull shears crush the stem, and dirty shears can transmit diseases.
  4. Don't remove all of the leaves -- keep at least 3 to help feed the bloom. Remove only leaves that will be below the water level of the vase.
  5. Once you have finished cutting all the roses for the day, bring them inside to begin the water conditioning and hardening process.
9 Tips For Preserving Roses

Now that they are cut, the clock starts ticking.

The first threat to a cut rose's health is the air pocket that entered the stem when you cut the rose outdoors. It will work its way up to the stem, cutting off the nutrient supply and shortening the bloom's life.

  1. Replace that air with water. The easiest way is to fill a bowl with hot tap water, as hot as you can stand to put your hands into.
  2. Add any floral preservative you use, plus a few drops of bleach.
  3. Place all of the rose stems into the bowl without the buds touching the hot water.
  4. Use your shears to cut 1/4 inch off the end of each stem.
  5. Leave the roses in the bowl until the water cools to room temperature.
  6. Fill your vase with warm water, add a drop or 2 of bleach, and some preservative.
  7. Finally add your roses.
  8. Whenever the water starts to get cloudy, remove the roses, refill the vase with warm water, add another drop or 2 of bleach, and return the roses to the vase at once.
  9. When the blooms begin to show signs of wilting, re-cut about an 1/8 of an inch from the stems and place them in hot water for an hour before returning them to the vase.
This little bit of extra work will vastly extend the vase life of your cut roses. Roses can live for an amazingly long time in a vase if you will help them.

Ron King is a full-time researcher, writer, and web developer. Visit to learn more about this fascinating hobby. Copyright 2005 Ron King. This article may be reprinted if the resource box is left intact.

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