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5 Ways to Extend the Life of Roses

Flowers are fleeting, but the sentiments they express are timeless. Whether you’re the giver or the recipient of Valentine’s roses (or maybe even both!), you’ll want your gift to last as long as possible.

With that in mind, we asked Whole Foods Market® Floral Buyer Diana Westcott for expert tips to extend the life of roses.

  1. Start with high-quality roses. Shakespeare wrote “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” but that doesn’t mean all roses are the same. Whole Trade® Roses must meet our stringent quality standards, and a portion of what you pay goes to support education, housing and low-interest loans in farmworker communities. 
  2. Set the stage. Fill a clean, tall vase with room temperature water and flower food to prevent bacteria. Cut the stems at least half an inch or more to fit the vase. Remove any leaves that will be below the water line. Keep the arrangement away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. Change the water and trim the stems every other day.
  3. Go short and sweet. After several days, some of the roses may start to get tired. Cut them down to centerpiece height, about 6 to 8 inches. The water now has a shorter distance to travel to the head, so it’s easier for the blooms to stay hydrated. Arrange them close together in a short vase so the heads support each other. Use fresh water with more floral food. 
  4. Enjoy tiny treasures. Put a single rose or a few stems in a votive candle cup or shot glass and enjoy the little vases on your night stand, in a powder room or on your kitchen sill. Rest the head on the top edge of the vessel for support. Remember to add fresh water and flower food.
  5. Preserve as potpourri. Drying works best with pinks and yellows. Red roses turn very dark. To dry roses intact, hang them upside down in a cool, dry, dark place for several days. For potpourri, spread the petals on a grill rack or sweater drier and let them air dry. Here’s a simple recipe for homemade potpourri.

Tell me about all the ways you’ve displayed and enjoyed your Whole Trade® roses. I’d love to hear your creative ideas.