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10 Ways to Keep Cut Roses Fresh in Water (Gardening 101)

Few home décor items are as spectacular as a vase full of cut roses. However, when this bouquet of flowers fades, they can lose their beauty more quickly than you’d like. In this article, we’ll help remedy that issue by revealing ten ways to keep cut roses fresh in water.

10 Ways to Keep Cut Roses Fresh in Water [Gardening 101]
Learn how to keep cut roses fresh in water and extend their beauty

1) Cut the Stem at an Angle

Cut stems at an angle to keep roses fresh in water

Whether you get your roses from a florist or take them from your garden, you should cut their stems before you place them in water. When cutting the stems, use a sharp, sterile knife to keep from damaging the stems. Scissors will crush the stem when they close, making it harder for the stem to soak up water.

Also, the cut you make should not be straight. Instead, you should cut your rose’s stem at a 45-degree angle. Cutting the stem at an angle creates a larger surface area through which your rose can intake water and any flower food you give to it. 

2) Remove Leaves on the Stem

Along with cutting the rose’s stem before putting it in water, you should also remove most or all the leaves on the stem. The leaves that are lower on the stem are especially important to remove as they are more likely to sit below the waterline of your vase, which can cause them to rot and cause infections in your roses.

Removing the leaves of your rose also helps the rose focus its energy on maintaining attractive flowers. Rather than sending water and flower food to its foliage, the rose will prioritize keeping its flower intact for a long time.

Remembering to remove leaves will go a long way in helping to keep your cut roses fresh in water.

3) Clean Your Vase Before You Use It

Any filth or germs that contact your rose can threaten its longevity. As such, you need to ensure that all aspects of placing your cut roses in water are as clean as can be. This process begins with using a clean vase.

When your vase sits in storage, it can collect dust, bacteria, and other substances that could interfere with the freshness of your rose. Clean your vase with soap and water to disinfect it. Then, wipe the vase clean of any soap or residue before you use it for your roses.


4) Fill Your Vase with Fresh Water

Not only should your vase be as clean as you can make it, but the water you put in your vase should be incredibly clean as well. Again, any growth of bacteria that lives on your vase or in your vase water can easily transfer itself to your rose.

Always use a filter to clean your water before you pour it into your vase. Although tap water can seem harmless, it can contain harmful chemicals and more that will only reduce the lifespan of your cut roses.

5) Replace the Water in Your Vase to Keep it Clean

Even if you fill your vase with the cleanest water you can provide, that water will eventually become dirty while it sits in the vase. After a few days, dirt and dust from the air can fall into the water and negatively affect the freshness of your roses.

Another easy way to keep cut roses fresh in water is every few days, you should take time to empty your vase of its flowers and the water within. Once your vase is empty, you can wipe it clean and refill it with clean water for your roses to soak up as they please.

6) Let Your Roses Sit in Warm Water

The temperature of the water you put in your vase also affects how long your cut roses will remain attractive. Generally, warmer water is better for roses, with 90- and 110-degrees Fahrenheit being a nearly perfect range.

It may seem odd that the temperature of the water your rose drinks play a role in longevity. However, many cut flowers tend to perform better in either cold water or warm water. In the case of roses, warmer temperatures allow the water molecules to absorb more easily through the stem to the flower.

7) Place Your Roses where the Air is Cool

Try to keep cut roses in a cool place to help them last longer

Although we just mentioned that lukewarm water is advantageous for cut roses, the opposite is true for air temperature. Roses, and most other cut flowers, will last significantly longer when they sit in cooler rooms.

If you’ve spent time at a florist’s store, you’ve likely noticed that the flowers are kept quite cold. In fact, the temperature that will allow your roses to last the longest is between 35- and 40-degrees Fahrenheit. Obviously, you won’t keep the rooms in your house this cold. But you can store your cut roses in the fridge overnight to keep them fresher for longer.

8) Add Flower Food to the Water

Adding flower food to your rose’s water is another excellent way to keep the blooms looking bright and alluring. Flower food essentially acts as a fertilizer by adding nutrients to the water in which your cut roses live. These nutrients encourage the rose to hold its structure for longer.

There are plenty of commercial flower food options that are available for purchase. You should also know that there are several ways you can make flower food at home. Such mixes often include sugar and some form of citric acid to improve the pH of the water. No matter which options you choose, enhancing your water with flower food is a dependable way to keep your roses fresh.

9) Remove Spent Flowers

When you grow plants, whether indoors or out, it is common practice to remove flowers once they have bloomed and become spent. The same practice can aid your cut roses as well. If you have multiple cut roses in a glass, be sure to remove any that begin to droop before the others.

Taking out spent flowers gives the remaining flowers in your vase a better chance to last longer. Rather than sharing water and any flower food with a rose that is already fading, your healthier roses can take a greater share of the moisture and food that will keep them around longer. 

10) Cut Your Roses Before the Petals Open

Our final tip for keeping cut roses fresher longer is only applicable if you are cutting your own roses, rather than purchasing roses that have already been removed from the plant. If you have access to a rose bush, you can increase the longevity of its cut flowers by removing them at the ideal time.

It’s ideal to cut your roses off the bush when they are just about to open their flower buds but have not opened yet. Removing flowers at this stage provides the longest timeframe in which your roses can survive in a vase.

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FAQs About Keeping Cut Roses Fresh

Those tips above will help you keep your cut roses fresh longer than you could imagine, but there are a few other questions you might want to consider before decorating your home with vases full of cut roses.

How long can cut roses last?

Even with the right care and attention, a cut rose will not last long while living in a water-filled vase in your home. In most situations, cut roses won’t last much longer than a full week. Often, they may last for just a few days before they start to wilt.

How can you make cut flowers last longer?

If you want your cut roses to last longer, you should consider methods of storage other than using a vase. One of the best ways to make cut flowers last for a significantly longer time is to hang them upside down and allow them to air dry. At times, dried flowers can last up to an entire year.

Do cut roses need direct sunlight?

Unlike other plants in your home, cut roses don’t need to have any sunlight to increase their longevity. Cut roses are no longer in an active growth stage, meaning that the fuel the sun would normally provide is useless to them.

Final Thoughts on How to Keep Cut Roses Fresh in Water

Cut roses are not destined to last long in vases, but there are ways that you can maximize their longevity. If you use the ten tips from the article above, you stand a much better chance of keeping your roses looking fresh and healthy for as long as possible.

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