Flower expert Jill Manson shares top tips on how to buy roses that last.
When you buy roses start by selecting one or two stems from the bunch and do what I call “the three point check”, recommends Jill.
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Press the peduncle (this is the top of the stem just below the flower bud) firmly between your thumb and forefinger to see how firm the stem is (it should feel hard and rigid). If the stem depresses easily between your fingers or is spongy or soft it means that the water in the stem has not travelled all the way up to here. Unless you cut the stem really short the flower bud will drop and droop in a day or two and the rose will not blow fully open, nor last.
Secondly squeeze the corolla (the flower bud or head) gently – you should feel a firm bud inside.
Lastly, the little green sepals of the calyx (see photo reference) should be up and closely hug the rose bud or corolla (the sepals should not be turned downwards away from the flower).
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Most times when this occurs the flower has been kept in cold storage longer than it should and appears fresh but is usually already a few days old.
- Big-headed roses such as Peach Pavlovas and White Avalanche often show these sepals turned downwards. These roses usually have thick sturdy stems and neat, firm bud heads so this factor does not impact their longevity.
- When doing the three-point check start with the stem rigidity test and then at least one of the other two checks. If you get two out of three correct the rose will be a good buy.
Press the stem firmly between your fingers – it should feel hard.
Press the flower head gently between your fingers to feel for a bud.
Check that the sepals are upright and hugging the bud (not pointing downwards).