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What could possibly smell or look better than a vase of beautiful rose blooms on your table ? Roses, especially hybrid tea roses, are made to be cut and they can last a very long time in a vase if you follow these simple tips. Always make sure that you cut your roses with a sharp and clean pair of shears. Dull shears will crush the rose’s stem, and dirty shears can transmit disease to your other blooms. Roses store and process their nutrients on a schedule. Hold off cutting your roses until after 3 PM when their nutrient levels are the highest. It’s too late to cut a bud when it is fully open. Choose buds which have started to open, but are only 1/3 to 1/2 of the way through the process. Don’t remove all of the leaves from the cut stem. Leave at least 3 to help feed the bloom, but cut off all leaves that will be below the water level of the vase. Once you have cut all the roses that you will be cutting for the day, bring them inside and start the water conditioning and hardening process. Roses can live for an amazingly long time in a vase if you understand what it takes to keep them alive. The first threat to a cut rose’s health is the air that it sucked up when you cut the stem outdoors. This little “air pocket” which entered the cut stem works its way up to the bloom where it ultimately shortens the blooms life. That air needs to be replaced with water. The easiest way to do that is to fill a bowl with hot tap water, as hot as you can stand to put your hands into, but not scalding hot. Add whatever floral preservative you use plus a few drops of bleach. Now place all of the rose stems into the bowl. Do not let the buds touch the hot water. Use your shears and cut approximately 1/4 inch off the end of each stem and leave the roses in the bowl until the water cools to room temperature. Fill your vase with warm water, add a drop or two of bleach and a bit of preservatives. Then add your roses. This little bit of extra work, as well as the addition of a few drops of bleach, will extend the vase life of your cut roses longer than you can imagine. Whenever the water starts to get cloudy, remove the roses, refill with hot water, add a drop or two of bleach, and return the roses to the vase at once. When your bloom begin to show signs of wilting, re-cut about an 1/8 of an inch from the stems and place the stems into hot water for about an hour before returning them to the vase.

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