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How to Keep Roses Fresh in the Vase

Updated on May 21, 2018
Diane Cass profile image

Diane is a lover of all things beautiful; music, art, antiques and nature. Her guides bring insight to topics she cares passionately about.

Fresh Roses From my Garden

Mr. Lincoln and Graham Thomas roses from my garden.
Mr. Lincoln and Graham Thomas roses from my garden. | Source

Fresh Roses - Tricks and tips for great looking cut roses

Keeping roses fresh looking, when cut, is the goal of every gardener and recipient of a bouquet of flowers from the florist. Most people try all kinds of tricks to keep them fresh looking. This usually involves adding something to the water, like bleach, 7-up or the contents of the packet the florist included with the bouquet. None of these are really very affective. Usually, your roses wilt and die within a few days.

Let me teach you how to keep your roses fresh for up to a week or more, without any additives to the water. I have kept both florist bouquets, and roses cut from my garden, looking fresh for up to two weeks by doing these simple steps.

A Boxed Bouquet Sent Through the Mail

Boxed Roses sent to me by my sister, for my birthday.
Boxed Roses sent to me by my sister, for my birthday. | Source

Keeping Boxed Rose Bouquets Fresh

1. Take the roses out of the box and remove the paper wrapping.

2. Remove any water tubes from the ends of the rose stems.

3. Strip away all foliage that would be under water when you put the roses in the vase. Hold the roses in the dry vase to get an idea of how much you will need to strip off, and to determine how much to cut off the stems so that the roses are properly proportioned to the vase.

4. Fill a vase with warm water and set it by the sink, ready to receive the roses as you prepare them.

5. Turn on the faucet to warm and let the water run as you work.

6. Hold a rose stem end under the running water at the point where you will make your cut.

7. Cut one inch or more from the end of the stem with sharp scissors while holding the stem under the running stream of water at the point of the cut.

8. Immediately place that rose in the vase and repeat the process until all the roses are in the vase.

An Arrangement of My Garden Roses

An arrangement of my fresh, garden roses
An arrangement of my fresh, garden roses | Source

Vase Arrangements of Roses from the Florist

When you receive fresh roses in a vase from the florist, they aren't as fussy and don't need the intervention that boxed bouquets need, but they still need attention to keep them looking their best.

1. Remove the vase from its stabilizing package.

2. Top the vase off with fresh water.

3. Completely change the water every day by dumping out the old water and refilling the vase with fresh water. This will keep bacteria from building up in your vase. It is the bacteria that makes your roses deteriorate.

My Favorite Pink Roses in My Garden

My favorite pink Grandiflora Roses in my garden.
My favorite pink Grandiflora Roses in my garden. | Source

Cutting Roses in the Garden

1. Always cut roses in the morning.

2. Take a vase of water with you out to the garden, along with sharp cutting shears.

3. Select a rose stem to cut.

4. Cut the rose down the stem longer than what you need to fit in the vase. You will trim it down more later.

5. Immediately place the rose in the vase filled with water.

6. Repeat this process until your vase is full.

7. Bring the vase in the house to the kitchen sink.

8. Use the same process of stripping foliage and cutting the stems under water as described in "Boxed Bouquets."

9. When all the roses are cut and hydrated, arrange them to your liking in a vase.

Mail Order Roses Kept Fresh Lookng

These lovely roses arrived through the mail for my birthday. They were already looking a little wilty when I got them. My technique freshened them up and they lasted for well over a week.
These lovely roses arrived through the mail for my birthday. They were already looking a little wilty when I got them. My technique freshened them up and they lasted for well over a week. | Source

Beautiful vases to set off your gorgeous roses

Why This Works to Keep Roses Fresh

Bacteria in the water will cause your stems to rot. This will reduce their ability to "drink," causing the rose to dry out and wilt. Keeping the water clean will slow the decay of the stems, helping them do their job longer.

Air creates a barrier between the water and the roses. When you cut a stem while dry, air pockets form at the end of the stem. Water cannot move past this barrier, causing your roses to dry out and die. Cutting the stems under water prevents the formation of this barrier. The stems can to their job and bring water up to the blooms so they last longer.

My sister sent me the roses in this picture for my birthday. They were in a box with NO water tubes, so I was a little worried about how they were going to do. I immediately trimmed their stems under water and got them into a vase. In this picture, they are a week old. I found a couple of them drooping a bit this morning, so I re-cut the stems as i have described and put them back in the vase. They were perky and lovely again in no time. I expect they will last at least another week. I have also been changing the water every day.

How to Arrange Roses in a Vase

Growing Your Own Fresh Roses for Cutting

Every gardener needs help with planning, planting and maintaining a healthy garden. Roses have particular needs to keep them healthy and vibrant looking. Here are some books to help you with your roses.

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What is the longest you have ever kept cut roses looking fresh. - Share your tricks and tips for fresh roses

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    • delia-delia profile image


      3 years ago

      I have the worst luck with Roses in particular costly Florist Roses...they won't even open up. I have done everything you have mentioned. So from now on I get Tulips or Lilies, I have better luck with them.

    • ReviewsfromSandy profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      3 years ago from Wisconsin

      Good tips to keep the flowers fresh.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      beautiful lens and thanks for the information

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 

      7 years ago from Land of Aloha

      It's been a long time since I got a rose, but if I get one for Valentine's Day, I'll definitely use these tips. Thanks so much!

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      7 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      I didn't know about the trick of cutting them under water. Thanks!

    • Joan Haines profile image

      Joan Haines 

      7 years ago

      I love roses. It's always a shame if they fade too fast. Thank you for helping to prolong beauty!

    • Diane Cass profile imageAUTHOR

      Diane Cass 

      7 years ago from New York

      @Nancy Hardin: Oh you lucky Nancy! I won't get roses until June.

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 

      7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Love this lens and love roses! I have one big, beautiful rose bush that is just starting to bloom. I will use these tips, and thanks for sharing.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I don't often get roses. :( But I will keep these tips in mind if I do. I have always been a fan of the seven-up trick with other flowers.

    • Joyce Mann profile image

      Joyce T. Mann 

      7 years ago from Bucks County, Pennsylvania USA

      My mother taught me many of these same tricks. I've had cut roses last two weeks or more.

    • jolou profile image


      7 years ago

      I love roses, they are my favorite flower. Didn't know they should be cut in the morning, that's good to know for the future.

    • I-sparkle profile image


      7 years ago

      I've managed to do it for a week, but I used to work for a rose delivery service so I had an advantage! Great lens. Thanks for sharing the much needed advice.

    • Diane Cass profile imageAUTHOR

      Diane Cass 

      7 years ago from New York

      @Virginia Allain: You are so right V. Especially roses.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      7 years ago from Central Florida

      It is so sad when an expensive bouquet wilts too soon. We used to split the stems of hard-stemmed flowers like roses or lilacs so they could take up water more efficiently.


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