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Cutting Roses

If you love roses, you'll probably do a lot of natural pruning, just harvesting them for display. Each time you harvest roses for cut flower arrangements, check for and remove twiggy old growth to promote new growth in your rose plant.

Although you may find it hard to resist filling your home with the beauty of your fresh cut roses, be sparing when harvesting roses from new plants. Plant growth is supported by foliage. Although it's okay and even beneficial to trim a few stems during the first growing season, your young plant won't be fully established until the second or, depending on cultivar, conditions, and location, the third year.

The best time to cut your roses is in the early morning when the plant has rested and moisture is at its peak. Alternatively, the second best time to cut roses is in late afternoon, after your rose plant has had some respite from the hot mid-day sun.

rosebudsChoose stems with blossoms that are newly opening. Use a sharp scissors or pruning shears to cut your roses. Cut rose stems at a 45 angle, just above a five-leaflet leaf to allow the bud at the base of the leaf to sprout a new stem. For quick rebloom on established plants, leave at least two five-leaflet leaves on your plant. After cutting each stem, immediately plunge it into a bucket of lukewarm water.

After you've finished cutting your stems, prepare them for display by removing all foliage and thorns that will be under the waterline of your vase. Once inside, cut away another inch of stem while holding the stem under running water or submerged in a pan of tepid water.

Condition your cut roses by placing each cut stem in a deep container of skin-temperature (95 to 98 water). When the water cools to room temperature, refrigerate the container for several hours.

Arrange your cut roses in a clean vase, filled with fresh warm water and a floral preservative.

Rose Tip: Refrain from cutting in late fall, as you don't want tender, new growth going into winter plus the plant needs to direct energy to the processes necessary for over wintering.

Rose Tip: Find more arranging and cutting tips in Cut Flower Gardens and Cutting Flowers!

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