4-foot rose stems tall order for Valentine's Day

By Loretto J. Hulse, Herald staff writer February 12, 2010 

Few flowers say "I love you" as sweetly as red roses.

But one variety says it with lots of visual impact. It's called "Forever Young" and has bright crimson blooms on stems nearly 4 feet tall.

"They're officially called a 120 Centimeter Rose and are truly a long-stemmed rose," said Connie Wormington, owner of Just Roses in the Tri-Cities and Wenatchee. "All you need to do is just get one to pretty well shock her. You don't need to have a whole bouquet for impact."

The extra tall roses are grown in Ecuador just for Valentine's Day. To create these giraffes of the rose world, growers bend all but one stem on the rose bush to the ground so the plant sends all the water, strength and nutrients up into the single stem, sending that one reaching for the sky.

A normal long-stemmed rose, Wormington said, runs from 16 to 20 inches.

She experimented with the extra tall roses last year, ordering in a few dozen.

"I wasn't sure how big a hit they would be but sold them all out right away. So I brought them in again this year," she said.

Lucky Flowers in Pasco also ordered some of the extra long roses this year. But they are already sold out.

When the roses go out the door of the Just Roses shop they're a few inches shorter than their original length.

"We trim them a bit as they come in and then they need to be trimmed a bit every two to three days," Wormington said.

Trimming the stem keeps it from sealing off, preventing the bloom from taking up water.

Follow her advice and the Forever Young blooms should last 14 to 16 days. Which is several days longer than other varieties of cut roses.

You'll need a tall vase to display these leggy blooms. And Wormington suggests adding some weight -- like acrylic "rocks" available at craft stores -- to the bottom to make it less tippy.

The tall "Forever Young" roses will be available at all Just Roses shops for $10 for a single stem or $190 for a dozen in an arrangement which includes a vase, filler greenery or flowers and a festive bow.

Regular long-stemmed roses run about $2 each.

-- Loretto J. Hulse: 509-582-1513; lhulse@tricityherald.com

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