Roses are one of the most beautiful flowers that we can give as a gift at any time of the year. And if we receive them, we can learn how to preserve a bouquet of roses so that they last longer. In this article, we will share how you can preserve your roses as well as some popular tips & tricks so that you can enjoy your flowers for longer. 

How to choose roses as gifts

The moment a flower is cut, it stops receiving the sap that will allow it to continue growing, open, and wait to be pollinated to form seeds. A good tip to make cut flowers last longer is to always choose those that have yet to open or are just beginning to open. 

This advice is also useful for flowering plants bought in pots: if the flowers have yet to open, you can enjoy their bloom at home or in the garden.

How to preserve your roses in 7 steps

1. Preserve your roses by removing the wrapping and putting them in water quickly

Preserve your roses by putting them straight in a vase

Although it is usual to receive a bouquet of roses wrapped in cellophane, the plastic prevents the flowers from breathing freely. As nice as it is, remove it completely so that the flowers get all the oxygen they need.

Help them recover from stress: use a container in which you can completely submerge the stems for a couple of hours. It doesn’t have to be the same vase in which you will place them later: a bucket will do.

2. Choose a vase and place it away from direct sunlight

It is important that the vase is very clean, with no traces of detergent. Rinse it several times if necessary and place it in a place where it will not be exposed to direct sunlight. We don’t want the sun to shine on the flowers as this will shorten their lifespan. Fill it halfway with water. Prepare the flowers, removing leaves and faded petals.

3. Check the flowers and remove any petals that may have fallen off

If they are tied up, some leaves may have become trapped: remove any leaves that, because of their position along the stem, are going to be submerged in the water. Any part of the plant that falls into the water in the vase will begin to degrade, and its rotting will cause the appearance of bacteria that are precisely beneficial for our flowers.

This is where the famous trick of aspirin or drops of bleach comes into play: both prevent the formation of bacteria in the water, thus extending the shelf life of the bouquet.

4. Cutting the stems diagonally every two or three days will help preserve your roses

Submerged stems also degrade and this prevents the roses from staying hydrated. Trim the stems using pruning shears or a knife if you do not have them. Kitchen or craft scissors squeeze the stem before cutting it, so the part responsible for absorbing water is crushed and you can preserve your roses for longer. 

5. Change the water in the vase every day

You can imagine that cleanliness is vital for preserving roses. Change the water in the vase daily and wash it if necessary. You may need to use a smaller vase at some point if trimming the stems makes the large one unstable. 

6. Preserve your roses by taking them outside at night

If it is not too cold, it may be worth taking the bouquet outside at night. The change in temperature will improve their oxygenation and lengthen their shelf life.

7. Remove the wilted flowers

Preserve your roses by removing wilted leaves

Just as we did at the beginning with the leaves or petals, it is equally important to remove the flowers that are getting damaged. The reason: it can cause the rest of the bouquet to wilt prematurely.

Drying a bouquet of roses to make it last forever

Roses are flowers that can be dried easily and with which we can form new compositions in our home. However, it is important to start the drying process when the roses are still in good condition. We recommend using one of these 3 methods:

1. Let the bouquet dry naturally in the vase itself

Remove the water from the vase and add a centimetre of clean water. Absorption and time will take care of the rest, slowly dehydrating the flowers. They will be completely dry after a month or so.

2. Hanging the bouquet upside down

Dry your bouquet of roses

This is perhaps the oldest method, but you also need to know how to proceed: hang the bouquet upside down in a cool, dark place. Use hairspray to keep the petals in place. Let the hairspray dry thoroughly before handling.

3. Dry the flowers with salt or silica gel

Salt absorbs moisture very well, and flowers are no exception. Use coarse cooking salt in a container or tray, form a layer of a couple of centimetres and place the flowers on it. Turn them over every day and let them dehydrate slowly.

The silica gel works very quickly but you will need enough to cover the entire bouquet. The most common way to proceed is to use an airtight container in which a layer of silica beads is formed on top of which the flowers are added. They are then covered with more gel and left to act for a week or a fortnight.

Spring is here and some of your plants will be looking forward to changing pots. Or you might have recently purchased plants for the express purpose of transplanting them directly into your garden’s flowerbed. In that case, before you can put them in the ground, you will first need to extract them carefully from the pots in which they were grown. Follow our article, step by step, to find out the best way to repot or transplant your plants!

Soil and drainage material

Every plant needs suitable soil. Some people make the big mistake of using soil that is not suitable for the plant variety.  
Ericaceous plants, such as azaleas, rhododendrons, heather and camellias, like soil that has a pH below 7. You will find this kind of soil sold under the name “ericaceous compost” or “soil for acid-loving plants”. Cacti and succulents prefer soil that is porous and less compact. Soil that facilitates drainage prevents the stagnation of water and thus eliminates the risk of your plants developing root rot.  

Universal compost, as its name suggests, is suitable for a wide variety of plants. At the same time, there are some differences between the various brands. Some types are made up of small beads that look like polystyrene, while others are comprised of slow-release fertiliser granules, which are small and mostly yellow. 

Which soil you choose should depend on where the plant will be grown and the type of watering it requires. For example, we recommend a substrate that retains water if you’re using a small pot which will be exposed to the sun throughout the day. Otherwise, the plant will run out of water and begin to suffer from water stress. 

For your houseplants, on the other hand, you should use a substrate that offers good drainage. You can make it more effective by adding pebbles. 

Carefully removing plant pots.

Carefully remove the root ball by holding the plant between your fingers, making sure that the soil doesn’t break up. Use your hands during this process.

To help plants grow even better, you can also improve the soil in your garden. The texture of clay soils can be loosened up simply by adding sand and organic matter such as manure. In contrast, you can help make sandy soils more compact by adding some organic material. Natural fertilisers or peat will do the trick. 

When it comes to drainage material, we recommend using clay or lava pebbles. Be sure to place them in a thin layer at the bottom of the pot or directly in a hole dug in the ground. This is the perfect solution for certain varieties, such as bulb plants, since it prevents the water from stagnating and eliminates the risk of root rot. 

Gardening tools 

You’ll need a pair of gardening gloves to protect your hands. You’ll also need a small and/or medium size spade, depending on whether you intend to transplant your plants into a pot or in the open ground. Finally, you’ll need a pail or a bucket and a watering can. For planting bulbs, we recommend making the job easier with a bulb planter. The specific shape of this tool is used to dig perfectly round holes. 

Transplanting your plants

Transplanting your plant.

First, look at the roots of your plant. Sometimes it is necessary to loosen them up a bit. For the Tradescantia zebrina shown here, you won’t need to follow this step. It came from a cutting we put in the soil after it came off the mother plant while being handled. 

Extract the plant to be moved

  • We recommend watering or soaking the plant in a pail or bucket filled with water. This makes it easier to remove the root ball from the pot and prevents the soil from breaking up. 
  • If the roots are coming out through the drainage holes in the pot, you can trim any protruding roots with a pair of scissors. If they are very thin, they will grow back without any problems. 
  • To remove the root ball, you must gently turn the pot upside down and squeeze on it. Always use one hand to support the base of the plant. With your other hand, press the plastic pot to turn the plant out, as though it were a flan or caramel custard.  
  • For ceramic pots, you may need to tap the bottom of the pot. Tilt it on the ground or pull lightly on the base of the plant, if the latter is large. This is a step that requires a very delicate touch. Indeed, some of the roots will inevitably break. 

Preparing to transplant your plants

  • Try to leave the plant in its pot until you transplant it into the hole you have prepared. To form a hole, use a shovel or garden trowel. Make sure that it is bigger than the root ball. In fact, the plant will appreciate a large hole that is filled with a spongy substrate to promote rapid root growth.
  • At this point, you must extract the plant from its pot. This will allow you to take a close look at the roots. If the plant has been in the same pot for a long time, it will probably have created a cluster of spiral roots to fit the shape of the pot. If this is the case, you should tease out the rootbound cluster by moving them very carefully and trying to open them up. This step makes some people nervous for fear of harming the plant. Don’t worry; your plant will appreciate this extra care! You can also use this step to remove part of the old soil. You can then place the root ball in the soil you have already prepared. Now your plant has extra space to stretch out and grow! Make sure that the ground or pot soil is properly loosened and ventilated. 
  • At this stage, you must exert a slight amount of pressure on the roots so that they are well integrated into the ground. Any air bubbles or hollow spaces at the roots can hinder their growth.
    Add the substrate, or soil, carefully and use your fingers to make sure the roots are surrounded by soil. This step must be performed with both a firm and gentle touch. Do not compact the soil, as that will prevent the roots from breathing.
  • After you’ve moved the plant, you must also avoid covering up the top layer of soil – from the original pot – with new soilThe base of the stem should always be at the same level as the soil you’re adding. It must not fall below that level. While there are some exceptions, this step prevents the risk of root rot.   
  • Next, water the plant thoroughly and generously so that the root ball is properly integrated into the surrounding soil. 

Repotting houseplants

Repotting houseplants

Squeeze lightly around the plant so that the soil settles. Water thoroughly after each transplant.

Last but not least, here’s a tip that is sure to succeed. Before transplanting, we recommend checking for two things:

  1. Look for roots coming out of the drainage holes at the bottom of your pot. Your pot may have become too small and the plant may be feeling cramped. You don’t need to get a pot that is significantly bigger. Instead, just go up one size from the pot you already have. 
  2. Check the state of the roots. After generously watering the plant, carefully remove the root ball so you can see how its roots have grown. You might notice there are less than you’d imagined. In this case, we recommend leaving the plant in the same pot.

How about you? Have you got any transplanting tips to share with the community? We’d love to have your comments on our blog and on social media.

If you liked reading this article, we invite you to read our Essential Gardens Jobs for April.

Looking for materials for your transplanting your plants? Visit manomano.co.uk to view our full selection of home gardening products.

Beauty is often in the eye of the bee-holder 😉 That’s why we have scoured the internet to find the top 8 weird flowers which you can give to literally any-budy.

That way, you can say that you rose above the orchid situation…(okay, we’ll stop now)

Weird flower 1: Dracule Simia (Monkey Face Orchid)

thehandymano mano mano weird flowers Monkey Face Orchid (Dracula simia)

It’s easy to see why this flower has been given this name! Although, unfortunately there’s no monkeying around finding it because you’ll only be able to spot it in the cloud forest of Peru and the southeastern Ecuador. Even then, you’ll have to climb for more than 3000 feet just to small its ripe-orange like scent.

Weird flower 2: Bee Orchid (Ophrys apifera)

thehandymano mano mano weird flowers bee orchidCould this little guy bee any happier? You can find him widespread across Europe, the Middle East; and even North Africa. The colouring and the shape of the flowers mimic the look and smell of a female bee which entices male bees towards it!

Weird flower 3: Devils Hand (Chiranthodendron pentadactylon)

thehandymano mano mano weird flowers Devils Hand (Chiranthodendron pentadactylon)Also known as Monkey’s Hand or Monkey’s Paw, this unsettling flower can be found in Mexico where Ancient Aztecs held it in a very religious regard! Despite its evil looking appearance, the plant produces earthy tasting fruit which has been used as traditional medicine to treat heart diseases and conditions for many years.

Weird flower 4: Subterranean Plant (Hydnora africana)

thehandymano mano mano weird flowers Subterranean Plant (Hydnora africana)Where do we even begin with this one?! This South African subterranean plan is clearly one of the most bizarre looking plants on earth. Looking like something from a horror film, it also lets out a disgusting smell and can take up to a year to ‘blossom’. The plant is often infused in face wash as an acne treatment, if you dare go near it in the first place…

Weird flower 5: Flying Duck Orchid (Caleana major)

thehandymano mano mano weird flowers Flying Duck Orchid (Caleana majorThis elegant little flower has its unique, cute shape to help increase pollination. You can only find it in Australia, though! It depends heavily on a vegetative fungus that only grows in Australia.

Weird flower 6: Psychotria elata

thehandymano mano mano weird flowers Hooker’s Lips (Psychotria elata)Pucker up for this plant! The bright red bits that resemble the lips are bracts, not petals! They stay in this red state for only a few days before opening to further reveal the small yellow and white flowers within. Native to Columbia, Costa Rica and Panama, the plant is currently on the endangered list due to its popularity with collectors and due to deforestation.

Weird flower 7: Naked Man Orchid (Orchis italica)

thehandymano mano mano weird flowers Naked Man Orchid (Orchis italica)This funky looking orchid is native to the Mediterranean regions and resembles tiny little hanging naked men. This flower is actually used to product the drink Salep (a turkish winter drink) and is also used as an antidiarrheal, antflatulant and aphrodisiac. Who would have thought?

Weird flower 8: Snake Gourd Flower (Trichosanthes cucumerina)

thehandymano mano mano weird flowers Snake Gourd Flower (Trichosanthes cucumerina)We thought that we would end our collection on a nice note with this gorgeous flower! It’s actually a very beautiful vegetable which originated in India before being cultivated around the world. Despite its terrible taste, it is commonly used as a tomato substitute in cooking! Not just a pretty face, eh?

Here are some less horrifying articles about gardening:

When it rains : Gardening Advice

How to Prune Roses and Geraniums