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GARDEN NEWS : Rosy Future for Roses

A new technique for extending the life of cut roses allows rosarians to win top prizes at rose shows--as many as 50 days after a bloom was cut in the garden. Called dry wrapping, the process involves cutting a fresh flower, wrapping it in plastic film--without water--refrigerating it, and then warming and rehydrating the flower to exhibition quality.

To preserve their blooms in blue-ribbon form, rosarians have perfected the technique with specific tips. They slip a 16-ounce Styrofoam cup (slit down one side) over the stem of rose before the bloom is severed from the bush. Immediately after cutting the bloom, they tightly wrap the freshly cut stem surface with plastic film and use a rubber band to secure it.

The rose is then placed in a plastic cone, and the entire package is wrapped in plastic film and refrigerated. When needed, the roses are rehydrated by recutting the stems under water andsetting them in warm water for five to 10 minutes and then in cold water for 15 to 20 minutes.

For more details and tips on this procedure, read the May issue of the ARS publication, The American Rose. At the last national rose show, three roses awarded trophies had been dry wrapped.

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Rehydrated, dry-wrapped roses are said to hold their form better than fresh flowers--if they survive the warm water treatment. And that’s the kicker. Those in the know report a 40% failure rate.


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