Laurie Keit, owner of Seasonal Celebrations, a Garden, Flower, and Event Design company in Belmont CA, has the following tips that will help you enjoy your Valentine’s Day roses longer.
1.) Look for tight buds and healthy looking foliage.
2.) Check to see if the outer rose petals (guard petals) are present. They are slightly smaller and typically two tone in color, and can look burnt or charred. The purpose of these petals is to protect the buds from bruising during harvesting. Guard petals naturally appear on all roses and are removed during processing. I prefer to purchase roses with intact guard petals, which let me know that no petals have been removed from the rose as it was harvested. Roses frequently have their petals peeled back to make the buds appear smaller and tighter and the impression is that the flower is younger and fresher than it may actually be.
3.) Gently squeeze the head of the rose between your thumb and forefinger. It should be firm if it is fresh. If there is a lot of give, the rose is old. Another indicator of freshness is if there is a slight cracking as you remove the guard petals.
4.) Any rose with visible signs of fungal disease should not be purchased. This includes powdery mildew on the leaves, and any browning or spotting of petals. Select the freshest material available. Foliage around the base of the stems should be firm and fresh looking, without signs of browning, yellowing, leaf drop, etc.
5.) Roses exposed to direct sun and heat will not last as long as those placed in cooler, protected environments. Place your roses in a location away from direct sun and heat from heaters, television sets, and fireplaces. Your roses will last and look lovely for the maximum time possible. Cut flowers continue to live out their lifecycle. The way in which we process, condition and care for the rose, will determine the length of its lifecycle.
6.) Good hygiene is extremely important. Clean vases and shears will help extend the life cycle of your roses. Do not reuse vases unless they are first washed using hot, soapy water or a mild bleach solution. I use filtered water for my plants and flowers as the chloramine in our tap water is harmful to plant tissue.
7.) Strip off leaves and thorns that will be below water level in the vase, taking care not to damage the stems. Rose stems should be cut underwater to prevent an air bubble from preventing the uptake of water. Cut one inch off the stems at a 45-degree angle to increase the surface space available for water uptake.
8.) Use an instant hydration solution to help prevent bent heads, blocked stems, and wilting foliage. It also acidifies the water’s PH to help prolong the life of the flower and stabilize the pigment in the flower.
9.) Put them immediately in a clean bucket of 110-degree water with floral rose food and allow to uptake water for 2-4 hours before working with them. Place the bucket in a cool location during this process.
10.) After you’ve created your arrangement, change the water daily or every other day, and remove 1/2″ of stem before placing them back in water with rose food.
Garden, Flower, and Event Design
555 O’Neill Ave. Ste 1
Belmont, CA 94002