A Rose Picking Guide from Birdsong Orchards

Be Careful

Roses can be thorny and cruel. Go slowly, look at where your hands are, and cut with caution.

Cut Roses when They are Starting to Open

The outermost rose petals are a bit different and called sepals. When the sepals unfold, that’s the most perfect time to cut. If you cut a bud that is too tightly sealed still, it will not ever open and unfurl. You can also cut blooms that are more open, developed and fragrant. If the outermost petals are discolored or falling off, then it is too late to get much vase life from the bloom.

Cut 12-18 Inch Stems

This is the ideal length to fit in your buckets. It also gives the plant plenty of leaves and stem remaining to grow more roses.  We try to keep the stronger branches below on the bush to support more growth and flowers all summer long.

How to Prepare Stems

After cutting your stem, remove any leaves on the bottom of the stem, so they don’t sit in water. This helps prevent diseases and lengthen the life of your cut roses. You can also remove the thorns at this point if you wish. Then, cut off the very end of your stems once again, they close up fast, and place them back in water.

Transport in Water

Keep your roses and flowers in their bucket and in water on your way home and preferably out of the direct sunlight for the longest lasting blooms.

How to Make Them Last

When you get your roses home, cut off another 1/4 inch of the bottom stems, and put them in fresh water again. Changing out the water in your vases every day will also help lengthen their lives. If you like, you can also make a quick floral food to both feed your blooms and ward off fungal infections. The basic recipe is:

1 quart water + 2 tablespoons lemon juice + 1 tablespoon sugar + 1/2 teaspoon bleach.