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hybrid tea rose

Hyacinth - February 2010BOTANICAL NAME
Rosa spp. and hybrids

Hybrid tea rose

Hybrid tea roses have single multipetaled blooms (from about 20 to 60 petals, depending on variety) that range in size, when open, from 2 to 6 inches in diameter. Bloom forms range from cup shaped to tulip shaped. Stems are leafy and often thorny (few to many thorns) although some thornless varieties have been developed. Hybrid tea rose stems are most often cut at lengths ranging from 40 cm (16 inches) to 90 cm (36 inches) although longer stems are also available.

Scents range from none to spicy, fruity and citrusy. Fragrance is often inversely proportionate to vase life: The stronger the scent, the shorter the vase life, and vice versa. Genetically, it’s a trade off; you can have either scent or longer vase life but rarely both, and today, most cut hybrid tea roses are bred for vase life.

Hybrid tea roses are available in virtually every color imaginable except true blue (which is in development) as well as bicolors.

Longevity of hybrid tea roses at the consumer level varies greatly among varieties, usually from four to 12 days, and is highly dependent on their growing environment; the shipping and handling procedures they receive from farm to florist to consumer; their maturity at the time of purchase; and, of course, the variety.

Hybrid tea roses are available year-round.

vase-life extenders


Unpack and process roses immediately upon arrival to reduce water stress. If you absolutely cannot attend to them immediately, store the box(es) in a floral cooler at 33 F to 35 F for as short a time as possible. Water deprivation and room temperatures can result in greatly reduced vase life, severe Botrytis (a fungal disease) on petals, and flowers that either open too rapidly or fail to open at all.

Sterilize containers, cutting tools and work surfaces with a professional floral disinfectant and cleaner before processing roses. Bacteria will contaminate floral solutions, ultimately clogging stem ends and inhibiting water uptake.

Remove all stem bindings as well as leaves and thorns that will fall below the water line in containers—but only those leaves because foliage is beneficial to the flowers and increases vase life. A minimum of four sets of leaves should remain on each stem. Gently remove foliage and thorns with a plastic stripper or a soft cloth, being careful to not puncture or strip away bark; this impedes water uptake and allows microorganisms to enter the flower’s vascular system.

Recut the ends of the rose stems on an angle with a clean, sharp blade, removing at least 1 inch of stem.* Immediately dip or place the stems into a hydrating solution, then into sterilized containers with 6 to 12 inches (depending on stem length and container depth) of warm (100 F to 110 F) properly proportioned flower-food solution formulated specifically for roses.† (Roses are exceptionally thirsty flowers.)

* You can cut stems in air if you place them into hydrating solution quickly after making the cuts, or you can cut stems under water as long as you change the water or rose-food solution frequently to keep it free of bacteria.

†When mixed and used properly, rose food can nearly double the vase life of cut roses, reduce bent neck, maintain color, and prevent leaf and petal drop.

Immediately after processing, place roses into a floral cooler at 33 F to 35 F, with 85 percent to 90 percent humidity, and allow them to hydrate for at least two hours before selling or designing with them.

Continue to store/display roses in a floral cooler to slow aging processes. Displaying roses at room temperature for just two days can reduce vase life at the consumer level by four or more days.

Some varieties are sensitive to ethylene (premature petal drop and/or malformed blooms are the effects) while others are not; however, all roses should be treated with an antiethylene agent at the grower level or during shipping, especially if they will spend any time in a mass-market distribution center.

Monitor cooler temperature twice daily, and change the rose-food solution and recut rose stems every other day.

To maximize vase life of roses arranged in floral foam, thoroughly soak the foam in properly proportioned rose-food solution before placing the foam into a container.

Provide customers and recipients with enough packets of rose food to last the life of their flowers as well as instructions on how to care for their roses. Caution them to display roses away from heat sources, and advise them to recut the stems and change the rose-food solution every other day.



Bent neck (the wilting of the stem immediately below the flower head) and failure of blooms to open are probably the most recognized problems associated with poor-quality roses. There are a number of causes:

  • Lack of water flowing into the bloom because of bacteria-clogged stem ends, usually a result of failure to recut stems and/or failure to use hydration and/or rose-food solutions. The proper use of these two solutions can help eliminate bent neck and enhance flower opening.

  • The roses were harvested too early (too tight), and this portion of the stem is immature and does not allow for water to be transported all the way to the flower.

  • Severe water or temperature stress after harvest and/or during transportation.

  • Storing roses too long, especially at high temperatures.

  • The variety; some cultivars are more susceptible than others.

  • Exposure to ethylene gas.

Once bent neck occurs, roses can sometimes recover if stems are recut under water and the entire stems and flowers are float soaked or submerged in room-temperature water for 20 to 30 minutes.

This is Botrytis, a fungal disease. To reduce chances of infection, maintain humidity levels in floral coolers below 94 percent, and keep foliage and flowers dry. It is also important to know that some cultivars are less susceptible to Botrytis.

Brown and dried leaves are not seen often today; however, if they occur, they are an indication that flowers have been stored too long, possibly at warmer-than-optimum temperatures.

This malady cannot be reversed. All you can do is remove damaged leaves from stems to enhance the roses’ appearance. Keep in mind, though, that flowers with brown or dried leaves probably will have reduced vase life.

(printable PDF)
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Some information provided by:

Botanica, by R.G. Turner Jr. and Ernie Wasson
Chain of Life Network® ,
Cut Flowers, by C. Gelein
Cut Flowers of the World by Johannes Maree and Ben-Erik van Wyk
Hortus Third by Liberty Hyde Bailey and Ethel Zoe Bailey
New Pronouncing Dictionary of Plant Names by Florists’ Publishing Company
Stearn’s Dictionary of Plant Names for Gardeners, by William T. Stearn

Super Floral Retailing •• Copyright 2011
Florists' Review Enterprises, Inc.