Tips for Rose care

The rose is the favorite flower of many people. Roses, however, sometimes do not keep well, possibly because they are cut too “tight,” allowed to open too much, or because they somehow fail to take up water. The proper stage of development is all-important when cutting roses from the garden. The best time is late in the afternoon when the rose is full of water and has the most stored food.

When to cut a rose. The proper stage of development depends on the number of petals. Rose varieties with 30 to 40 petals have graceful, urn-shaped buds. Cut them when one or two outer petals have loosened from the bud and the green sepals have turned down. Some roses have many petals (60 to 90) and short, fat, rounded buds; delay cutting them until three or four petals have separated from the bud. If cut too tight, they may never open. Roses with few petals (20 or less) and long, slender buds should be cut “tight,” or just as the tips of the petals show color. If cut when they are open, these roses will open fully very rapidly.

After cutting, remove leaves that will be in the water and remove the prickles carefully so as not to injure the stem’s bark. Then recut the stem under warm water and place it immediately into a container of warm water with preservative.

How to buy long-lasting roses. Good florists can be trusted to supply fresh roses at the right stage of development. Roses should have been in water with a floral preservative long enough to be conditioned and firm so that they will open fully and remain attractive for several days. The outer one or two petals should be loose, with the sepals turned down around the stem. The flowers should have a rich, fresh color and a crisp feel. Look for the following signs to recognize “poor buys.” Old roses: many petals loosened; little bud left in center; a dull, faded look; a soft, flabby feel; and water-soaked foliage. These roses will open rapidly and be shortlived, so avoid buying them.

Immature roses: no petals loosened, and definitely cut too tight (if the bud is short and fat, it may never open); the bud feels hard; and the sepals are tight against the bud. Special care is required to get immature roses to open properly, so don’t take a chance in buying them. How to care for gift roses. You may receive roses as a gift, packed in a box without water, or arranged with their stems in a container of water or in wet floral foam. Here are some tips to get the most enjoyment from them.
Boxed roses without water.
• Remove all foliage that will be in water.
• Cut the stems up about one inch from the ends while holding them under warm water.
• Place the cut stem ends in warm water containing floral preservative. Keep the roses in a cold, draft-free place while they soak up water.
• When arranging them, recut the stems and immediately place the roses in a container of warm water with a preservative. Soak floral foams in a preservative before use. Roses arranged in a water-filled container.
• Check the water level in the container; fill it to the brim with water or a preservative solution.
• Check the water level daily.
• Place the arrangement in the coolest place available for display; refrigerate it when not on display. Avoid drafts, direct sun, or heat.
Reviving wilted roses. If a rose wilts or is wilted upon receipt, try doing the following:
Remove it from the arrangement; recut the stem under water as above; submerge the entire rose, including stem and foliage, by laying it out flat in a pan of warm water or in the bathtub; and replace it in the arrangement after it has revived by becoming full of water again (often after 20 minutes to an hour). Some immature roses, which have been cut too tight and have wilted severely at the “neck” (the stem just below the flower), can never be revived.

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