Kath's Gardening Notebook
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How to Make Cut Roses Last Longer

Who doesn’t love to get a fresh bouquet of roses delivered to their doorstep? The red rose, the ultimate symbol of love and the yellow rose representing the sun and friendship, are my favorites. There’s a way to let these beauties last longer whether you received them as a gift or grew them yourself.

If you’re cutting roses from your own garden, cut them in the morning before the blossoms have fully opened. Grab a pair of garden gloves and make a clean diagonal cut with a sharp knife or pruners. A diagonal cut helps the stem absorb more water. I always bring a small bucket of lukewarm water to the garden to immediately plunge the flowers into after I cut each flower so a seal doesn’t form on the stem. Once inside, fill your vase with lukewarm water. Strip off any leaves you think will be below the water line in the vase. Leaves in the water will cause bacteria to form twice as fast. Make a new cut on each stem under running water and get it promptly into the vase, again preventing a seal to form at the end of the stem. A seal can’t form if the stem isn’t exposed to air. If you can’t get the flowers into a vase right away, wrap the stems in wet paper towel and refrigerate.

Garden Eats cutting roses

Bacteria is the main reason your roses start to wilt and look droopy. Changing the water every other day or more frequently if it looks cloudy, will prevent that. Below are a few things you can add to the water to keep bacteria from forming. I’ve tried them all and they really work. The first ingredient acts as an acidifier to kill bacteria and the sugar feeds the roses. Choose whichever one is easiest. Mix them into the vase water before you add the roses.

1. Two tablespoons lemon juice + 1 tsp sugar
2.  One copper penny + 1 tsp sugar
3. Two tablespoons white vinegar + 1 tsp sugar
4. One tablespoon vodka or gin + 1 tsp sugar

 

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