Friday, January 23

Friday Finds: Choosing & Caring for Valentine Roses

I worked as a floral designer in a flower shop for 17 years and saw many a Valentine's Day. Because the demand for roses is so high, wholesalers raise the prices florists have to pay and, in turn, the florist have to charge you more per dozen.
So, todays find is my advice on choosing & caring for those vased roses:

Things to Understand About Roses:
Lovely, fully open red roses!

#1) They are very prone to bacterial stem blockage that prevents them taking in water. This results in a flopped over head.
Even the most careful care at the florist or at home can't necessarily prevent this. It's the nature the of beast.

#2)  No rose stays in that neat bud shape you see in photographs. 
Their goal in life is too open fully for bees as they would in the wild. 

 How Long May I Expect My Roses To Last In A Vase?:
I'm sorry to say the answer to that is somewhat vague--it really depends on the color and breed of rose, where the vase is located, whether the room temperature is very warm and whether it's well cared for by a complete daily change of water & re-cutting of stems:
* Red Roses, in general, tend to perform best & last longest.
* Yellow, Pinks, Red, Oranges & Browns vary quite a bit in their performance: most tend toward opening to a fully open state fairly quickly and, by that, I mean they may last a few hours to a couple days.  
* Lavender Roses, in my experience, perform the worst. 
They tend to be open and done very often in a matter of hours. Hardly worth the $100 dollars paid for a dozen. I saw this complained about over and over.
 I never recommend them for a dozen vase.

Do Rose Colors Have Any Particular Meaning?

A gorgeous light pink rose!
This is a common concern, but the answer is "no, not really."
Those meanings are made up, something like that list of anniversary gifts for years of marriage.
People go with red because it traditionally suggests "love."
The best rule of thumb is to choose what the person you're buying for likes, whether that's roses, carnations, sunflowers, candy, a dinner out, whatever.

Can I Get Blue Roses?
No. There are no naturally occurring "blue" roses to be found at a florist.
If you want blue, order 6 red roses mixed with
6 dark blue Delphinium.

Ordering & Delivery Advice:
#1)  Order early. 
Where I worked, we stopped taking orders by the afternoon of Feb 13 and very often wouldn't take any more delivery orders on the 14th; just to-go pick-ups at the shop.
Frankly, we'd just run out of roses for doing dozens then.
So, there is no sense berating the florist because you forgot to order in adequate time.

#2)  I recommend early delivery: choose the 11th or 12th!
Why do I say that? 
A) In my experience & opinion, you'll get a fresher set of roses earlier vs later.

B)  On Feb 14th, yours will be 1 in 500 arrangements being delivered in mass by a horde of contract drivers hired to use their personal vehicles. Sometimes we'd start using contract drivers even on the 13th.
 If you deliver on 11th or 12th your vase will most likely be part of an ordinary delivery load in the flower shops own air-conditioned vehicle, driven by the flower shop's own driver.
There's just a difference in how well-cared for your vase will arrive.

#3) What About Ordering A Mixed Arrangement With Just
 1 or 2 Roses Added? How Much Should I Spend?
Always a nice option---but do calculate properly the cost of the roses. At Valentines, roses cost more per stem.
 You should ask your particular florist what roses are costing per stem, then add that extra amount on top of amount you were thinking of spending for the mixed flowers in a vase.
For example: say, you were thinking $40 for the vase of mixed flowers and your florist says 1 rose is $8 a stem, so you add $8 to $40 and you get $48. That's what you would spend for a mixed arrangement with one rose in that case. 

Price of roses per stem will vary depending on where you live.

A lovely yellow rose & baby's breath.
How Should I Take Care Of My Roses?
#1)  Do place your vase in a spot away from heat vents and direct sunlight. 
Do NOT put vase on a high location. (Heat rises making it hot higher up.)
Do NOT place vase on top of any electronic device, such as a TV, DVD player, video game unit, radio, etc
Remember: the warmer the home or office environment is, the faster your roses will pop fully open.

#2)   Do: daily empty vase and refill with fresh, warm tap water and give the stems a fresh cut, cutting a little off the end at a slight angle.
(The stem juices gradually seals the ends, blocking water flow; re-cutting the stems allows for a fresh intake of water. Warm water perks them up.)

What If I Buy Roses At A Retail or Grocery Store?
 Those are fine. Get them home promptly, then with scissors or clippers, cut off a good inch off the bottom of each stem, cutting at a slight angle (45 degrees) and place your stems in a vase filled with very warm tap water.
After that, just change the water daily with fresh warm water and give the stems a tiny fresh re-cut to keep them drinking that water.

  Additives To Help Flowers Stay Fresh:
* Use the flower food packet that came with your flowers. 
* Once the flower food packet is gone, you can add 1 or 2 teaspoons of a non-diet citrus soda, like regular Sprite, to your vase water, but really, just keeping the vase filled daily with fresh warm water will be enough. 
When I worked at the flower shop, I used to often bring home roses that were fully open; too open to sell. I'd bring them home, re-cut their stems short for a short vase, then put them in fairly hot tap water and they would last 3 or 4 more days, even fully open.
(All rose photos are from Pixabay.)

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