Let Love Bloom Longer: Redneck Rosarian’s Tips to Make Petals Last

Feb 15, 2016, 22:48 PM
He’s a banker by day, but by night and weekends he’s known to his legion of blog followers as the Redneck Rosarian. Chris Van Cleave is an authority on all things rose-related, so for the millions who got roses from their sweeties on Valentine’s Day he’s got some tips to stretch their staying power.


Condition The Blooms

If they arrive in a box or wrapped in cellophane, remove them immediately and prepare them as follows:

  • Fill your container with equal parts water and lemon-lime soda (sprite or 7UP) Add two aspirins or a penny. Both act as an antibacterial agent and will help eliminate slimy/cloudy water in the vase. 
  • Cut off about 1/2 – 1 inch of the stems. The roses don’t care whether you cut straight across or on a slant. Just cut them. This cut opens a wound to allow the stems to be hydrated. 
  • As soon as you cut them plunge the stems into the mixture described above. 
  • Arrange as necessary.
Rinse & Repeat

Repeat this step every two days. As the stems become shorter and some of the blooms begin to fade, divide and move them to smaller containers. As the additional filler foliage fades, I add some from my garden. Rosemary, boxwood and others make great fillers and will give your blooms a new look.


Most people find that by following this course of action, you can extend the life of your blooms up to 14 days. Chris appears onstage at the Birmingham Home + Garden Show on Friday, February 19 at Noon. Don't have tickets yet? Get 2-for-1 on Facebook and treat a friend or family member to the show. We'd love to see you there!

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FEBRUARY 18-21, 2016.