M&S demonstrates how to trim a new flower bouquet

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Roses are known for being the most romantic of bouquets and are usually given and received on Valentine’s Day. There are more than 300 species and tens of thousands of cultivars of roses available but the most iconic type at this time of year is the red rose. The flowers often vary in size and can range in colour from whites to yellows, pinks and of course reds.

However, as beautiful as roses are, once they’ve been put in a vase at home they can often start to wilt and drop petals quickly.

In light of this, Josh Novell, plant expert and director of Polhill Garden Centre, a rose supplier based in Kent have shared how to keep cut roses alive for longer.

Keep them away from heat

Once your cut roses have been placed in a vase, make sure they are in a cool area of the house, away from any heat sources like radiators, fires, wood burners or heaters.

A heat source will dry out the roses more quickly. Roses kept in cooler rooms, with plenty of moisture in the air, “will stay fresher for longer”.

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Don’t give them cold water

Josh explained: “Cut roses prefer lukewarm water – about the temperature of a baby’s bath. Avoid using water that is too cold or too hot, as this will impact their freshness.”

Cut your stems

Cutting the stems of fresh flowers helps them to absorb the nutrients in the water more effectively, which can extend their life by a few days.

Mix flower food in the water first

Most bouquets come with a sachet of flower food but if your flowers don’t come with food, there are plenty of household products that can be used as rose food.

For example, one recipe for flower food suggests using water, lemon juice, sugar and bleach.

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One common “mistake” we often make is putting flower food into the vase once the flowers are in the water, but that makes it harder for the solution to dissolve evenly and be distributed properly to all the stems.

For best results, put the food in and mix it with the water before putting the stems into the vase.

Give them something sweet

As previously mentioned, sugar is a great alternative for feeding roses, and can help to “prolong their life for longer”.

If your bouquet does not come with flower food, mix a teaspoon of sugar into the water instead.

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The “perfect time” to add in some sugar is when you change your water. Feeding them with sugar will keep roses in “better condition”.

Trim off the leaves

Josh explained: “If you want to keep flower buds and petals fresher for longer, one good trick is to cut off most of the leaves.

“In any plant, the leaves require nutrients, water and energy to stay flourishing. But, when it comes to cut roses, this means the flowers themselves can lose out, and means they dry out and lose colour quicker.”

Change water regularly

Make sure you keep changing your roses’ water – around every two to three days – as this will help to keep roses alive for longer. Don’t forget to add more plant food or a substitute (like sugar) each time.

Use a mister for extra freshness

Josh said misting can really help when roses start to dry out as it can give the appearance of freshness.

He explained: “Misters don’t necessarily help your roses last longer – the water in your vase is much more important for this – but spraying petals can give the appearance of added freshness.

“Use a mister to spray lukewarm water directly onto the rose buds, to keep them looking moister – this is particularly useful when you notice they have started to dry out, and can help preserve them, aesthetically, for an extra day or two.”

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