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cut flower of the month
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hybrid tea rose
Rosa (ROW-za)

Hybrid tea rose

Hybrid tea roses have single blooms that range from 2 to 6 inches in diameter, when open. Petal count varies from about 20 to 60 petals, depending on cultivar, and bloom forms range from cup shaped to tulip shaped.

Stems are leafy and often thorny (few to many thorns) although some thornless varieties are available. Stem length most often ranges from 40 cm (16 inches) to 90 cm (36 inches) although longer stems are available.

Scents vary from none to spicy, fruity and citrusy. Fragrance is often inversely proportionate to vase life: The stronger the scent, the shorter the vase life, and vice versa. Today, most cut hybrid tea roses are bred for vase life.

These roses are available in virtually every hue except true blue (which is in development) as well as bicolors.


Longevity varies greatly among cultivars, usually from four to 12 days, and is highly dependent on their growing environment; how they’re shipped, handled and cared for; and their maturity at the time of purchase.


Hybrid tea roses are available year-round.

vase-life extenders


Unpack and process roses immediately upon arrival to reduce water stress. If you absolutely cannot attend to them immediately, store the box(es) in a floral cooler at 33 F to 35 F for as short a time as possible. Water deprivation and room temperatures can result in greatly reduced vase life, severe Botrytis (a fungal disease) on petals, and flowers that either open too rapidly or fail to open at all.


Sterilize containers, cutting tools and work surfaces with a professional floral disinfectant and cleaner before processing roses. Bacteria can clog stem ends and inhibit water uptake.

Remove all packaging materials and stem bindings as well as leaves and thorns that will fall below the water line in containers—but only those leaves because foliage is beneficial to the flowers and increases vase life. A minimum of four sets of leaves should remain on each stem. Gently remove foliage and thorn tips with a plastic stripper or a soft cloth, being careful to not puncture or strip away bark; this impedes water uptake and allows microorganisms to enter the flower’s vascular system.


Recut the ends of the rose stems on an angle with a clean, sharp blade, removing at least 1 inch of stem.* Immediately dip or place the stems into a hydrating solution, then into sterile containers with warm (100 F to 110 F) properly proportioned flower-food solution formulated specifically for roses.† (Roses are exceptionally thirsty flowers.)
     * You can cut stems in air if you place them into hydrating solution quickly after making the cuts, or you can cut stems underwater as long as you change the water frequently to keep it free of bacteria.
     †When mixed and used properly, rose food nearly doubles the vase life of cut roses, reduces bent neck, maintains color, and prevents leaf and petal drop.

Immediately after processing, place roses into a floral cooler at 33 F to 35 F, with 85 percent to 90 percent humidity, and allow them to hydrate for at least two hours before selling or designing with them.
Continue to store/display roses in a floral cooler to slow aging processes. Displaying roses at room temperature for just two days can reduce vase life at the consumer level by four or more days.

Some varieties are sensitive to ethylene (premature petal drop and/or malformed blooms are the effects) while others are not; however, all roses should be treated with an antiethylene agent at the grower or during shipping, especially if they will spend any time in a mass-market distribution center.

Change the rose-food solution and recut rose stems every other day. To maximize vase life of roses arranged in floral foam, thoroughly soak the foam in properly proportioned rose-food solution before placing the foam into a container.

Provide customers and recipients with instructions on how to care for their roses as well as enough packets of rose food to last the life of their flowers.

Bent neck (the wilting of the stem immediately below the flower head) and failure of blooms to open are probably the most recognized problems associated with poor-quality roses. There are a number of causes:
• Lack of water flowing into the bloom because of bacteria-clogged stem ends, usually a result of failure to recut stems and/or failure to use hydration and/or rose-food solutions.
• The roses were harvested too early (too tight), and this portion of the stem is immature and does not allow for water to be transported all the way to the flower.
• Severe water or temperature stress after harvest and/or during transportation.
• Storing roses too long, especially at high temperatures.
• The variety; some cultivars are more susceptible to bent neck than others.
• Exposure to ethylene gas (see “Ethylene Sensitivity).
Once bent neck occurs, roses can sometimes recover if stems are recut under water and the entire stems and blooms are float soaked or submerged in room-temperature water for 20 to 30 minutes.

This is Botrytis, a fungal disease. To reduce chances of infection, maintain humidity levels in floral coolers below 94 percent, and keep foliage and blooms dry.

Brown and dried leaves generally are a result of flowers being stored too long, possibly at warmer-than-optimum temperatures. This cannot be reversed; all you can do is remove damaged leaves to enhance the roses’ appearance. Roses with brown or dried leaves probably will have shortened vase life.




buying tips

• Purchase roses only from reputable growers and wholesalers who consistently deliver the highest quality flowers.
• Make sure the roses you purchase are treated at the grower with a hydration solution, especially if they are to be shipped dry, and at the grower or during shipping with an ethylene inhibitor.
• Get to know which rose varieties open best and last longest, and purchase only those varieties. All rose varieties do not perform the same; some simply last longer than others. Some varieties can stay in the bud stage and never open.
• Order/select roses by variety name, not color. Keep in mind, though, that roses of one variety can differ vastly in color, size and performance based on the region and environment in which they are grown.
• Purchase only roses that have firm, well-hydrated blooms and stems and healthy green foliage. Avoid bunches with soft flower heads, fully opened flowers, flower heads with mold or rot, damaged or diseased foliage, or limp stems.


To view the newest varieties on the market, download the pdf.

(printable PDF)
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The 85 roses featured in the gallery are among the latest hybrids created by the world’s leading rose breeders. Despite their newness, these varieties are already in “significant production” and should be readily available to delight your Valentine’s Day customers.

Some information from:
Botanica, by R.G. Turner Jr. and Ernie Wasson
Chain of Life Network® ,
Cut Flowers, by C. Gelein
Cut Flowers of the World
by Johannes Maree and Ben-Erik van Wyk
Hortus Third, by Liberty Hyde Bailey and Ethel Zoe Bailey
New Pronouncing Dictionary of Plant Names
by Florists’ Publishing Company
SAF Flower & Plant Care,
by Terril A. Nell, Ph.D. and Michael S. Reid, Ph.D.
Stearn’s Dictionary of Plant Names for Gardeners
by William T. Stearn