The Magic of Refrigeration

by Jack Wedekind, Master Consulting Rosarian

Rose refrigerator
Jack and Betsy Wedekind’s 1928 GE Monitor Top Refrigerator
Two things I enjoy the most about being a rose grower are exhibiting in rose shows and sharing my blooms with others. I don’t have a huge number of rose bushes in comparison to many people I know. So how do I manage to take bouquets to our church every Sunday in the growing season and exhibit at a few rose shows? It’s the magic of our 1928 General Electric Monitor Top Refrigerator in the garage!

I cut blooms with a high petal count when they are about 50% open. I cut blooms with a lower petal count when they are about 30% open. All the blooms immediately go in buckets and vases filled with water and into my trusty, vintage, non-frost-free refrigerator.

It’s worth all the work when I get to share bouquets most every Sunday at our church. And you can save a really great bloom for a rose show by refrigerating it early and keeping it cool as long as you can. Check the rose schedule carefully. No matter what stage of bloom your rose may be in, there is probably a class you can enter it in.

Some Rose-Refrigeration Tips

All the roses were refrigerated 7 to 10 days or more before the photos were taken.
  • The temperature of your refrigerator should be 45 to 55 degrees. You need to check the temperature often. I check the temperature of the water because it is more accurate. A meat thermometer works well.
  • Be sure to cut the stems of your refrigerated roses every two to three days. The ends of the stems will start to close up and stop taking in water to the bloom. So clip off a little of the ends of the stems to keep the water flowing. Always cut the stem at an angle to give more surface to drink in the water.
  • If you have a regular frost-free refrigerator, add moisture by putting wet towels or a pan of water in the bottom.
  • To protect your blooms in refrigeration, you can put plastic wrap or bags over the blooms.
  • If you don’t have a refrigerator dedicated to roses, be careful to not refrigerate your blooms at the same time as open fresh foods.

Often my most complimented bouquets include roses cut and refrigerated more than ten days before.