How Long do Cut Roses Last?

Roses are a staple in any cut flower garden, but how long do they last once trimmed and brought indoors? Gardening expert Madison Moulton answers the question and gives tips to ensure your cut roses last as long as possible.

Close up of a paper-wrapped bouquet of apricot roses.


Roses are the quintessential cut flower, with large, fragrant blooms and a rainbow of colors. Unfortunately, their beauty doesn’t last as long as we hope, with petals slowly falling over the course of a few days.

Whether trimming your roses straight from the garden or having a purchased bouquet, you can use a few tricks to ensure you enjoy their beauty as long as possible.

How Long Do Cut Roses Last?

A close-up of a glass vase holding large red roses. Lush, velvety red roses fill the vase, surrounded by verdant green leaves. In the background, a home setting emerges with a soft, white curtain, adding a touch of serene elegance.
Clean the vase meticulously with soap and water before adding water or roses.

On average, cut roses will last about a week in a vase. This depends on the cutting time, but if trimmed at the right time, you’ll usually notice the petals starting to fall off in just under a week. If you follow the correct care techniques, they can last even longer – up to 10 days or more.

How To Make Cut Roses Last Longer

If you want your fresh roses to last as long as possible in a vase, follow these care tips. As a bonus, they also apply to all your cut flowers, extending their lifespan by several days.

Cut At The Right Time

A close-up of a hand in blue gloves pruning a pink rose branch while using pruning shears. The soft pink roses bloom in gentle clusters, each petal delicately unfurling. Verdant green leaves line the branch, offering a vibrant backdrop.
Trimming at the bud stage ensures you enjoy the blossoms as they open.

Long-lasting roses need to be cut at the perfect time. If you cut too early, the petals likely won’t open. If you cut too late, the open petals will fall off within a few days. Trimming at the bud stage will allow you to enjoy the flowers as they open and for as long as possible.

When trimming, use sharp and clean shears to remove the stem once the buds have formed and just as the petals are beginning to curl open. If the roses are already completely open, leave these on the bush to enjoy and cut the next blooms that appear.

Use A Clean Vase

Clean the vase meticulously with soap and water before adding water or roses.

Bacteria is one of the main causes of wilting flowers and a display that doesn’t last very long. Therefore, starting with a clean vase is essential to extend the life of your cut roses – especially if the vase was used to keep cut flowers previously.

Clean the vase thoroughly with soap and water before you place any water or roses inside. If it is very dirty, consider using a 5% bleach solution to ensure you remove any problematic bacteria that can impact water quality early on.

Remove The Leaves

A close-up of hands trimming rose leaves and stems. Delicate green leaves adorn the long, slender rose stems. A glass vase sits on a white cloth surface, filled with verdant stems and yellow rose blooms, a harmonious display of nature's hues.
Any leaves below the water line can rot, drawing harmful bacteria and causing wilting.

Once you’ve brought your roses inside, there is some preparation to do before you pop them in a vase. One of those tasks is stripping the leaves from the stems.

Any leaves remaining below the water line will rot in the vase, attracting harmful bacteria and causing your roses to wilt. Remove these with your fingers or the shears before you place the stems in the vase to keep the water as clean as possible.

Avoid Direct Sun

Keep them in a cool, sun-free area inside your home to extend their lifespan.

Outdoors, your roses thrive in direct sun. But once they’ve been cut, avoiding direct sun at all costs is vital if you want them to last. Direct sun and high temperatures will cause the flowers to wilt far quicker, with petals burning and dropping off within a few days.

Choose a cool spot in your home far from any direct sunlight. To go the extra mile, place the vase in the refrigerator each night to keep the roses cool, preserving their shape for as long as possible.

Feed The Flowers

An array of organic apple cider vinegar in glass bottles on a wooden display. The bottles showcase the varied hues of the vinegars, adorned with informative stickers detailing their contents. The warm tones of the wooden display complement the products' natural allure.
Provide store-bought or homemade flower food to make arrangements last longer.

When you cut roses from the plant, you remove all the resources they need to keep them blooming as long as possible. If you can replace those resources with flower food, you’ll get to enjoy your roses for a few days longer than you would otherwise.

Commercial flower food is available from nurseries or online. These contain a mix of ingredients that feed the flowers and keep the water clean at the same time.

If you don’t want to purchase specialized food, make your own by mixing a few home products. Sugar and lemon juice or apple cider vinegar work well. You can also use a sugary soda to feed the stems or a few drops of bleach to keep the water clean.

Change The Water Often

A close-up of a woman filling a glass flower vase with water. She holds the vase under the faucet, replenishing its contents. The setting reveals a sink backdrop, emphasizing the act of nurturing the flowers.
To prevent bacterial growth, regularly change the water and clean the vase.

Since dirty water is one of the main obstacles to long-lasting roses, it makes sense that keeping that water clean should be a priority. The best way to do this is to change the water frequently and clean the vase to stop any bacterial build-up.

You’ll need to top up the water to keep the stems submerged. But it’s best to change out the water completely every couple of days, too, especially if it becomes cloudy. Wash the sides of the vase to remove any debris that builds up, keeping the water pristine for much longer.

If you have replaced the water, adding new flower food to the water is also best. A few drops usually keep them looking their best until you change the water out again.

Recut The Stems

A close-up of a woman's hand recutting a rose stem. The small knife delicately trims the stem in a glass bowl filled with water. On a table draped in white cloth, yellow roses, and their verdant leaves create a serene tableau of natural beauty.
Recutting stems when changing water is crucial to maintaining moisture in flowers.

The final tip goes along with changing the water – recutting the stems. Immediately after cutting, the stems will draw up plenty of water to keep up the moisture content in the flowers. But, over time, the ends begin to seal up, drawing up less and less water. You can see this for yourself by checking the ends of the stems after a few days.

Luckily, there is a simple solution. Recut the stems whenever you change out the water to refresh the ends and allow them to draw up as much water as possible. Cut at a 45-degree angle to stop the stems from sitting flush with the bottom of the vase.


A cluster of red roses hangs to dry
Hang roses to dry for the longest-lasting bouquets.

The best way to preserve the life of your cut roses is to dry them. Roses are a little tougher to dry than other flowers due to their delicate petals.

But drying will make them last months rather than a week if handled carefully. Hang them upside down to dry, or remove the petals and dry them in the oven or microwave.

Final Thoughts

These steps do require a little more attention to detail after cutting. However, they can mean the difference between roses that last a few days and those that last longer than a week, making it well worth the effort.

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