Picking the Perfect Valentine’s Day Roses

by Mary Leigh Oliver

Roses and Valentine’s Day go together like bread and butter. Unfortunately, some roses can begin to droop and wilt after only a few days. Make the love last this year by choosing long-lasting roses, or even growing bushes full of them.

The Perfect Pick

Picking out roses from the store can be an overwhelming experience. Knowing what to look for before entering the store will help to bring peace of mind. Alabama Extension agent Lucy Edwards identified what to look for when selecting a bouquet.

First, inspect the blooms. The petals should be tight, unblemished and upright. Blooms with loose centers can indicate the flowers have been there for a few days. Blemishes on the petals may indicate onset of disease. Lastly, leaning or limp flowers could be the result of rough handling.

Second, inspect the overall appearance of the floral display. “If most of the bouquets appear to be in poor condition, it is best to go to another shop,” Edwards said. Also, if the water is cloudy, it is an indication that the flowers have not been properly cared for.

Third, notice the appearance of the filler greenery, if there is any. If they are wilted, spotted or broken, resist the urge to buy. The roses will most likely follow suit.

Long Lasting Vase Life

After picking the perfect roses, the next step is to prepare them properly for a longer vase life.

The roses will need to be immediately kept in water. “It’s best to always keep roses in water, consider taking a vase with you or having a vase ready when you arrive home,” she said. Washing the vase with warm soapy water prior to use will help to prolong the life of the roses.

Next, cut the rose stems at a 45-degree angle with a sharp knife or scissors. Cutting the rose stems under water prevents an air bubble forming in the stem prohibiting water uptake.

Make sure to remove any foliage that might be submerged in the water. Wet foliage can result in disease development.

If the roses aren’t yet ready for display, refrigerating a bouquet can slow down the rose’s metabolism. “However, don’t store the bouquet next to fruit in the refrigerator,” Edwards said. “It can cause the blooms to decay.”

Lastly, placement of the bouquet can heavily impact the lifespan. Try to keep the roses away from air vents or drafts. They will even last longer in a cooler home with temperatures between 62- and 75-degrees Fahrenheit.

By following these intricate steps, this year’s store-bought Valentine’s Day roses are sure to have long-lasting beauty.

Grow Your Own

Instead of purchasing roses just for the holiday, why not enjoy bushes full all season long?

According to Edwards, a potted rose bush is an ideal option for long-lasting blooms. “At this time of year, the rose bushes may not have blooms, unless it has been forced in a greenhouse,” she said. “However, selecting a shrub rose for your avid gardener may be ideal.”

Before purchasing a rose plant, ensure that there is a spot to plant the rose that will receive full sun with well-drained soil. Fall is typically the best season to plant rose bushes, however January and February are a close second.

Shrub and miniature rose types grow well in containers if there is not an adequate in-ground location.

By planting rose bushes in the correct location, beautiful blooms can be acquired with minimum maintenance.

More Information

Whether bouquets or rose bushes are purchased this holiday, make sure they show the love with long-lasting blooms.

For more information about picking the perfect roses this Valentine’s Day, visit the Alabama Extension website, www.aces.edu.