The Art of Growing Long Stemmed Roses

Do you ever wonder how they get those long stemmed roses? It is an interesting procedure but probably not something the amateur grower wants to take on unless he is really serious about roses or just enjoys a challenge. Some of the techniques are similar to what are used to get show quality flower and those giant vegetables, so perhaps it should be part of a serious gardener’s knowledge base.
The first step is to choose a variety and type of rose that tends to grow with a longer stem. Generally the rose of choice is a hybrid tea rose that rosehas a single flower growing atop a stem. For red roses the varieties of choice are Ingrid Bergman, Opening Night and Firefighter.  Some of the best options for other colors include, but are not limited to, Bridal White, Antique Silk, and Aalsmeer Gold.
There are two major factors in getting large flowers on an elongated stems. They are pruning and climate control. The first is the standard procedure for getting a larger flower or vegetable. All buds except the central one are removed. Most plants will respond to this procedure by channeling nutrients into the one remaining bud making for a bigger flower.

Then all of the lateral leaves and supporting branches should be removed taking care not to damage the main flowering stem.  This provides the single long stem of the florists rose. Bloomed roses should be removed before the hips form either for cut flowers or deadheaded as they fade. A twenty four inch stems with a bud of one inch or larger is a top quality rose.
Climate control in the home garden is, as one might suspect, more difficult to control. While roses like sun, to grow florist quality roses the bushes should be planted out of direct sun.  It is important to reduce stress so that the plants can reach maximum growth potential and bright sun is a source of stress.  Lack of water is also stressful so plants should be watered every two days or more often if necessary. If the soil feels dry; water the plant.  Roses need a minimum of three inches of water spread out over a week.
Choose a fertilizer that is specific to roses and follow directions carefully. Alternately, use compost and mulch to retain moisture and deter weeds. The bushes should be maintained in the healthiest condition possible in the garden.   The buds should be misted every couple of days to keep them clean and to moisturize the petals.
An outdoor climate is stressful. It is impossible to control temperature, wind and insect depredation. This is why most florists’ roses are grown in greenhouses.  The flowers grow biggest and the stems elongate to their maximum when temperatures are kept at around 80 degrees F and humidity is kept at 60-70%.
The professional secret of growing perfect long stemmed roses in the greenhouse is increasing the carbon dioxide level.  Growers have been doing this for many years to stimulate plant growth. It helps plants deal with stress and enhances the plants ability to use water. Increased photosynthesis increases the biomass of the plant and the larger root system allows the plant to absorb more nutrients.

While most of us are probably not going to give this a try some of the techniques might prove useful in other areas.