From tulips to chrysanthemums, our series “The Language of Flowers” explores everything from fresh flower care tips to flower symbolism and meaning. Learn from floral and lifestyle expert Julie Mulligan how to arrange roses in a vase and create a beautiful arrangement for someone special.

Roses are timeless symbols of love and beauty, shared as gifts of affection for as long as anyone can remember. If you are lucky enough to receive a bouquet of roses for a special occasion, you might be tempted to just throw them in a vase filled with water and call it good. But don’t you owe those beautiful blooms a little more TLC than that?

If you’re not sure how to arrange your bouquet of fresh cut roses, you’re in luck. I created a video on arranging roses just for you, breaking the process down to three basic steps. Follow my advice, and you’ll create a beautiful arrangement in no time.

My favorite rose secrets

In addition, I want to share a few tips that I have learned over the years to help you get the maximum vase life from your fresh cut roses.

  • Get you roses in water as soon as possible. Hydration is what’s it’s all about.
  • Fill a clean vase three-fourths of the way with warm water.
  • Add a packet of flower food according to package directions. Flower food contains a biocide to kill bacteria, an acidifier to help stems drink water, and a sugar to nourish the blooms. If you don’t have any commercially prepared flower food, you can make your own recipe at home by adding three teaspoons of lemon-lime soda (non-diet) and one teaspoon of bleach to one quart of water. The soda provides the food source (sugar), and the acidifier and bleach will help prevent bacteria growth.
  • Remove all foliage from you flower stems that would fall below the water line before placing your flowers in the vase. This prevents bacteria growth in the water.
  • Just before placing your flowers in the prepared vase, give the bottom of each stem a fresh cut on an angle. Cutting the stem on an angle prevents the stem from sitting flush on the bottom of the vase, thus enabling maximum water intake.
  • Check the water level in your vase on a daily basis, and add fresh water as needed.
  • After three to four days, repeat these steps for optimum vase life.

Julie started her career in the floral industry over 30 years ago in a small, family-owned flower shop. From floral designer to author and lifestyle expert, her insight has been instrumental in developing the brand. Representing the company’s floral lifestyle vision, Julie has shared her talent and passion in numerous television appearances and national magazine features. She is an active fundraiser and longtime friend of IGHL, a group dedicated to facilitating a more independent life for developmentally challenged adults.

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