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Monday, Aug. 3, 2015

Make your roses last longer

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Rose bushes, especially hybrid teas, are not the prettiest of plants but the flowers sure do look pretty in vases. A few tricks can prolong the indoor show.

This advice is belated, but if you want the longest lasting indoor rose blooms, plant a rose variety known for having this quality. Generally, red, pink, and orange roses keep better than do white or yellow roses. And roses with more petals open more slowly and last longer than do roses with fewer petals.

Some long-lasting roses include hybrid teas such as Touch of Class, Olympiad, Voodoo, Chrysler Imperial, Mister Lincoln, and Peace and grandifloras such as Sonia and Viva.

For any rose bushes already in the ground, the first step in eking the longest vase life from the blossoms is cutting them at the right stage of development. Usually this means cutting blossoms while they are still in bud. Wait until the bud feels slightly mushy if you roll it between your thumb and forefinger, or until the those green petal-like appendages enveloping each bud, curl downward.

Some kinds of roses need their blossoms further along in development before they make good cut flowers. Wait to cut any of the heirloom or modern roses having many petals until you see a few rows of petals developing.

Once cut, rose blossoms need "conditioning." Plunge the stem bases into hot water, then cut off the bottom half-inch while the stem is still submerged. This eliminates the small bubble of air that gets sucked into the base of a stem when it is cut. Let the stems sit in the water out of direct sunlight in a cool room until the water reaches room temperature.

Now you're ready to move the roses to a vase that will become their final home. From here on, lack of energy, bacteria plugging stems, and aging are what will eventually drain the beauty from the flowers.

Rather than use just plain water in the vase, some gardeners use boiled water, Sprite or 7-Up, or water to which a few drops of bleach and a teaspoon of sugar has been added per quart. A more exotic bath might be made with a tablespoon of sugar, a teaspoon of vinegar, and an aspirin tablet per three cups of water.

No matter what liquid concoction you put in a vase, your blossoms will keep best if you keep them out of direct light and make a fresh cut at the bases of the stems every two days.


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