The vase life of roses is 10 days if you keep them in cool water but by using floral preservative, the vase life of roses can be extended to 21 days or more.
Commercial floral preservatives increase the vase life of roses and other Cut Flowers
A floral preservative is a complex mixture of sucrose (sugar), acidifier – an inhibitor of microorganisms, and a respiratory inhibitor. These flower preservatives or simply flower food could help cut roses last for several weeks, and gorgeous bouquets could last more than just a few days.
Factors contributing to vase life of roses
Climate: Two roses of the same variety grown in different climates can and generally will exhibit different vase life, or at varying altitudes or in different growing mediums. Cut Point and initial care both play roles in a flowers eventual vase life.
Transit Time/ Environment: The amount of time spent on the farm to reach the final consumer contributes to the vase life of the roses hence the faster product goes from farm to consumer the better. Flowers need to be kept refrigerated with an ideal temperature of 33º – 36º F and a relatively high humidity.
Cleanliness: Micro-organisms rob roses of vase life and clean containers and cutters reduce microbial populations and the chances of stem plugging. When stems are plugged with bacteria, flowers cannot take up water freely. For roses, any interruption in water uptake leads to bent necks.
Post Harvest Care for improving Vase Life of Roses
In the Farm:
Keep buckets and tubs sterile by washing them with a commercial bucket cleaner or detergent and rinsing them with 1:10 bleach- water solution. Use the Same mixture to wipe down cooler shelves, floors, and doors. Make sure all of your cutting tools are sharp and clean blades. A hydration formula to lower the pH and increase the speed of flower hydration is used in combination with a low dose flower food that provides the appropriate amount of nutrients to inhibit premature bud opening and bent neck in flowers.
In the Store:
When flowers arrive in the store re-cut stems to remove at least 1 inch. Removing leaves and thorns from the roses wounds the stems hence introduces another chance for microbial infection. You can read more on how to care for cut flowers as a florist
If you do follow this advice, you can likely expect to enjoy your flowers for at least 21 days.
- Remove any plastic water tubes and look for the packet of floral preservative (which is usually included with the flowers).
- Prepare floral preservative according to the directions on the packet. Do not use more water than recommended – that will only dilute the solution, making it less effective.
- Remove at least 1-2 inches of the stem, using a sharp knife or pruning shears. Mostly the stem cutting depends on your vase length.
- Leaves underwater level should be removed as when left there they promote bacterial growth.
- Immediately Place the roses in a clean vase with water/floral preservative solution.
- Place your arrangement away from any heat source i.e. a radiator, stove top or television and out of direct sunlight. Sunlight decreases the time you can enjoy your bouquet since it encourages the blooms to open faster.
- Check the water level daily, but don’t just add water, as you would for a potted plant. The vase water must be replaced with a clean solution, especially if you notice that the water your flowers are sitting in has become cloudy (a sign of bacterial growth). If the water becomes yellow and cloudy, is a good idea to re-cut the stems before putting them in a vase of fresh water. Bacterial growth in the old water may have clogged the stems, prohibiting uptake of the fresh water.