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Conditioning Roses

With quality red roses at a premium, being able to correctly condition and care for them to preserve their quality and ensure maximum vase life has never been more important, even though the prospect of so many roses arriving in one go can be overwhelming!

On Delivery:

  • Roses delivered in water will still need to be topped up by a watering can on arrival.

  • If they are protected by cardboard sleeves, leave them on while they have their first drink.

  • If delivered dry, re-cut stems immediately and stand in deep water in a cool spot (2-5°C) for as long as possible.


Roses are very prone to bacteria. Make sure all buckets and containers are scrupulously cleaned before use.

Before beginning conditioning, fill clean buckets with fresh, deep water ready to take your roses as you strip them. This minimises the amount of time they are out of water.


  • Re-cut stems at an angle making sure that your cutting tool is sharp and won’t crush the stem.

  • When stripping roses, use a rubber leaf remover pad which is kinder to the stem.

  • If possible, avoid using a knife or a metal thorn stripper as they can also remove the green bark which damages the flower, allowing bacteria to enter and shortening its vase life.

  • Remove all foliage and thorns that will be below the water line.

Tip: Re-cut stems before stripping them, if you always do that first then you won’t forget.


  • Ideal temperature range: 2-5°C.

  • If in a chiller or cool room, make sure they are not by a blower or cold air inlet.

  • Don’t overcrowd buckets or containers.


  • Ensure all vases are clean and refresh water every other day, re-cutting stems each time.

  • Display away from direct heat and draughts.

  • Remove guard petals as this improves the appearance of the rose.

If you're after some interesting facts about Roses, check out my article all about the language of flowers and what different coloured roses mean.


Su Whale is a florist and freelance writer with over twenty-five years' experience in the floristry industry. She is the author and publisher of three best-selling books: Cut Flowers, 4th edition (2020) Cut Foliage, 2nd Edition, (2021) and Houseplants (2019), all bookshelf essentials for the professional florist.

With this increased demand there has never been a better time to stock and celebrate British grown. Don’t be shy about highlighting your UK-grown stock.


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