Roses are the symbol of romance -- and are perfect as the center piece for a candlelit dinner. While full, plump blossoms look stunning in a vase, the buds can be a bit straggly. If you forgot about your anniversary or Valentine's Day, there's no need to panic, however. You can easily bring the buds to blossom overnight just in time for your special occasion.
Things You'll Need
- Kitchen or garden shears
- Container of warm water
- Lemon-lime soda
- Container for mixing the flower preservative
Cut roses in the late evening. Use sharp kitchen or garden shears to avoid crushing the stems. Carry a container of warm water to the garden with you and submerge the stems immediately to prevent air bubbles from traveling up the stem and inhibiting water uptake. The water temperature should be between 100 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit, according to James Schmidt, horticulturist at the University of Illinois.
Strip away leaves that will be below water level in the vase. Remove any diseased or insect-bitten leaves and petals as well.
Mix up a homemade preservative to extend the life of the flowers. Combine 1 pint of a non-diet, lemon-lime soda with 1/2 teaspoon of bleach and 1 pint of warm water in a container. Pour the solution into a clean vase.
Recut the stems at a diagonal angle under warm, running water. Remove at least 1 to 2 inches of stem from the roses.
Quickly transfer the roses to a bucket of hot water and allow them to sit for a few minutes. Do not leave the flowers for more than 3 to 4 minutes or you will kill the flowers.
Move the roses to the vase of preservative-enhanced water and store the container in a cool, humid place overnight. Do not dilute the solution. The University of Nebraska recommends the refrigerator as an ideal place for storing it.
Tips & Warnings
- If you purchase roses from the florist, look for buds that are bright, firm and fresh. Only one or two petals should be turned down at the base of the bud.
- Scrub vases thoroughly with warm, soapy water to remove bacteria and mold from previous arrangements.
- Recut the flower stems and change the water every three days to extend the life of the roses.
- Do not store roses with fruits and vegetables. Produce gives off ethylene gas, which will damage the flowers.
- Use deionized or rainwater for optimum bouquet longevity.
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