We published this lesson a year ago and it's worth repeating:
Because of the volume of roses sold on this holiday, product is dry packed and needs to drink. To maximize the life of your roses follow these instructions:
Before your roses arrive:
1. Make sure your cooler is cleaned and free of any fruit or product that will affect your flowers.
2. Set your temperature just above freezing (between 34-36 degrees is ideal). Coolers vary, so check the temperature periodically.
3. Have cleaned buckets available for your roses. Buckets should be cleaned with bleach and a scrub brush.
4. Fill buckets with clean water and a preservative.
5. Make sure the water is at room temperature. Too hot will cause the roses to mature too early. Too cold will not allow the roses to hydrate properly.
When your roses arrive:
1. Place all your roses in the boxes in your cooler, making sure they are not sitting on wet floors. Boxes need to be dry.
2. Do not unpack more roses than you can process within a 30 minute window. Leaving roses out on tables or in boxes out of your cooler will cause them to dehydrate further.
3. As you unpack each bundle, do not pull the bands or sleeves off at this point.
4. Only remove the foliage from the bottom of the stem that will be in water (about a third of the way up). The foliage is needed to pump the water up the stem – so it’s best to leave the top leaves on. Do not de-thorn your roses at this point, as this will impede the water in-take up to the bud.
5. Give the ends of the stems a ½ to 1 inch cut at a 45 degree angle and put them back in the bucket you have prepped. If possible, cut the stems by hand. That way, you make sure each stem gets a cut. Make sure you use sharp, clean tools.
6. Let the roses stay in the buckets outside your cooler for at least an hour - up to 6 hours before you use them in an arrangement. This process will allow the flowers to hydrate and the buds harden off before you are ready to use them.
7. Any roses you prep and don’t use right away, should be put back in your cooler. Change the water every 2-3 days to keep them clean.
“A rose does not answer its enemies with words, but with beauty.”