Growing Long Stem Roses in the Home Garden is Time Consuming and Tricky
Growing long stem roses is something you can do in your home garden but
you might find it a bit time-consuming.
It also depends on the weather (which is why most long-stemmed roses
are grown in greenhouses).
Grading Long Stem Roses
Long stem roses are graded according to the stem length and the bud
size. The longer and bigger the better. Once you get into the 24"
length, you're talking high quality with bud sizes of one inch or more.
Anything less is of lesser quality but still acceptable. Note that
growers get paid more if they produce longer stems than if they produce
short stem roses.
Developing Long Stem Roses
There are two ways you produce a long stem roses. The first is pruning
and the second is climate control.
Some rose varieties are more suited for long stem production but the
climate and pruning are primary considerations.
In pruning, you only allow one bud (the central larger one) to remain
on the stem. All other buds are carefully pruned off. This is basic
gardening and almost all plants respond the same way. Take off the
secondary buds and the main flower bud will get larger.
Hybrid Tea 'Kitchener of Khartoum' image courtesy Wikimedia
There main key to producing these roses is climate control and this is
where home gardeners start to have problems. Because the production of
these roses is inside greenhouses, optimum conditions for stem
elongation and rose growth can be created.
You want to create an optimum temperature of 27C with a relative
humidity of 60-70%.
Hotter or cooler temperatures will reduce the stem length because of
increased stress on the plant. Essentially what you are trying to do is
maintain a stress-free environment where the variety of rose can reach
its genetic optimum growing size.
Carbon dioxide supplementation is one of the grower tools for
increasing growth and making the leaves larger and more productive
(darker green leaves sell better as well). Without this growth
promoting technique, growing long stem roses is more difficult.
What This Means to You
In general, it means that it is very difficult to create a florist
quality long stem rose in the home garden. You can increase the length
of your rose stems by feeding heavily (compost and weekly fish emulsion
feedings) and by pruning off all the secondary buds so each stem only
has one flower bud.
Unfortunately, growing long stem roses will likely remain in the hands
of greenhouse growers for the next little while.
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