cut flower of the month
Rosa spp. and hybrids
Hybrid tea rose
Hybrid tea roses have
single multipetaled blooms (from about 20 to 60 petals,
depending on variety) that range in size, when open, from 2 to 6
inches in diameter. Bloom forms range from cup shaped to tulip
shaped. Stems are leafy and often thorny (few to many thorns)
although some thornless varieties have been developed. Hybrid
tea rose stems are most often cut at lengths ranging from 40 cm
(16 inches) to 90 cm (36 inches) although longer stems are also
Scents range 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. Genetically,
it’s a trade off; you can have either scent or longer vase life
but rarely both, and today, most cut hybrid tea roses are bred
for vase life.
Hybrid tea roses are
available in virtually every color imaginable except true blue
(which is in development) as well as bicolors.
Longevity of hybrid tea
roses at the consumer level varies greatly among varieties,
usually from four to 12 days, and is highly dependent on their
growing environment; the shipping and handling procedures they
receive from farm to florist to consumer; their maturity at the
time of purchase; and, of course, the variety.
Hybrid tea roses are
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 will contaminate floral solutions, ultimately
clogging stem ends and inhibiting water uptake.
Remove all 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 thorns 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 sterilized
containers with 6 to 12 inches (depending on stem length and
container depth) of 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 under water as long as you change
the water or rose-food solution frequently to keep it free of
†When mixed and used properly, rose food can nearly double the
vase life of cut roses, reduce bent neck, maintain color, and
prevent 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 level or during shipping, especially if they will
spend any time in a mass-market distribution center.
Monitor cooler temperature twice daily, and 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 enough packets of rose
food to last the life of their flowers as well as instructions
on how to care for their roses. Caution them to display roses
away from heat sources, and advise them to recut the stems and
change the rose-food solution every other day.
BENT NECK AND
FAILURE TO OPEN
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 proper use of these two solutions can help
eliminate bent neck and enhance flower opening.
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
Storing roses too long, especially at high temperatures.
The variety; some cultivars are more susceptible than
Exposure to ethylene gas.
Once bent neck occurs,
roses can sometimes recover if stems are recut under water and
the entire stems and flowers are float soaked or submerged in
room-temperature water for 20 to 30 minutes.
BROWN BLOTCHES ON
PETALS; FUZZY GRAY PATCHES ON STEMS OR LEAVES
This is Botrytis, a fungal disease. To reduce chances of
infection, maintain humidity levels in floral coolers below 94
percent, and keep foliage and flowers dry. It is also important
to know that some cultivars are less susceptible to Botrytis.
BROWN, DRY LEAVES
Brown and dried leaves are not seen often today; however, if
they occur, they are an indication that flowers have been stored
too long, possibly at warmer-than-optimum temperatures.
This malady cannot be
reversed. All you can do is remove damaged leaves from stems to
enhance the roses’ appearance. Keep in mind, though, that
flowers with brown or dried leaves probably will have reduced
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Some information provided
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’
Stearn’s Dictionary of Plant Names for Gardeners, by William T.