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Preparing Roses for Arranging

Last time I talked about how to chose great roses and this week I want to talk to you about how to get them ready to create your arrangement.

To process roses you want to strip all the foliage that will fall below the water line. I like to remove ALL the thorns as well. You really only have to remove the thorns below the water level, but trust me, you will be handling the roses above the water line and you don’t want to poke yourself with the thorns. Some varieties of roses have really tiny almost clear thorns on the top third of the stems and that is typically where I am handling them. Those micro thorns will get into your hands and fingers and wreak havoc, because you can’t see them to get them out. I normally will use a florist’s knife and gently scratch those tiny thorns off the stems!

Next you want to give the roses a fresh cut, cut at least an inch off the stem length and cut at the biggest angle you can cut. Make sure you are using really sharp sheers or knife. You do NOT want to damage the stem with clippers that can’t make a clean cut. The bigger the cut you can make, the more drinking surface you are giving the rose. Roses need to drink water and any obstruction in the stem will disallow the water to get all the way up to the head which will cause bent heads. Even an air bubble will cause the bent heads and roses are particularly vulnerable to this problem. There are many professionals who believe that roses should only be cut under water, because when you cut underwater there can be no air bubbles getting into the stem.
If you use a rose stripper, which I totally recommend, make sure you do not tear or scrape the skin of the stem, because this allows microorganisms (bacteria) to get into the stem and will impede the flowers ability to get that good drink of water it needs.

It is absolutely BEST to dip each rose stem into a dipping solution of a hydrating liquid before you put them in a bucket or vase with flower preservative. I don’t know of the hydrating liquids being sold at a retail level. But the good news is, we are in the process of expanding our online store and I plan on offering this product right here at www.flowerarranging101.tv! So keep checking back, we hope to have our new products up and available for your use in the near future.

Make sure when you transfer your roses to a bucket or vase that it is a clean bucket or vase. I use Clorox Clean Up to wash all my buckets and vases. A watered down clorox solution is fine too. You just need to be sure that you are killing any bacteria in the bucket/vase.

If you are not going to use your roses right away, the idea situation is to process them (remove thorns/foliage, give fresh cut and dip in hydrating solution) and then place the roses into a bucket of tepid (luke warm) water for about two hours. After that, it is best to put the roses into a refrigerator for at least another two hours (ideal temperature is 33-35 degrees). After that, do all the arranging your heart desires with your roses.

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