How to Arrange 1 Dozen Roses

If you’re in a relationship (that’s less than 5 years old) you may very well get a dozen red roses today (unless he’s smart and you’re forgiving, in which case he’ll wait until tomorrow when they’re half price which is actually regular price).

Red roses have come to be synonymous with Valentine’s Day.  They’re right up there with cinnamon hearts and that little fellow Cupid.  Because nothing says romance like a crossbow being pointed at you by a doll sized man who for some reason either due to illness or age has incontinence issues.   Quite frankly, I think in this scenario, the wrong person is wearing the diaper.

Because of this, today I have for you,

How to Arrange A Dozen Roses

And let me tell you … it ain’t easy.  Chances are if you get a dozen roses today, that’s exactly what you’re going to get.  One dozen roses.  No filler, no leaves, no fluff.  Twelve Roses and a bunch of pretty tissue paper and cellophane.  Because of this, in my opinion, one dozen roses are probably even more difficult to arrange than the dreaded Grocery Store Bouquet.

One dozen red roses laying on a white counter prior to arranging.

The biggest mistake people make when they get a dozen roses is they a) are afraid to cut the stems and b) put them in too large a vase.
Exhibit A.

A dozen red roses in a clear vase, that's too big for them. Roses are flopping and bland looking.

Look familiar?

If you INSIST on leaving the stems long, tie them together with a string or piece of raffia about halfway up the  stems.  This will at least hold the roses in a slightly more pleasant shape.

A dozen red roses in a clear cylinder vase looking neat and tidy because the stems are pulled together with a string.

They’re still a tiny bit ridiculous in my opinion.

But I know there ARE a few of you out there who simply will NOT cut the stems.  So this is for you.

A slightly more modern approach is to tie the stems together the same way, but allow the bouquet to lean against the side of the vase.

Like so …

Contemporary arrangement of a dozen red roses in a glass cylinder vase on a stainless steel round table.

If you happen to have a few sticks or branches around this’d be a good time to use them.

Like so …

Contemporary arrangement of a dozen red roses tied together in a bunch, leaning to the side in a clear cylinder vase with a few white curly branches for interest.

A better bet is to CUT the stems of your roses and put them in a much smaller vase.

A dozen red roses in a white, narrow cylinder vase. Shows off how a smaller vase mouth helps to keep roses upright and in place.

And don’t forget, you don’t have to put all the roses in one vase.  Splitting them up between a few vases can be quite a striking arrangement if I do say so myself.  I’m using 3 identical vases of different heights here, but you can use anything you want.  Just make sure there’s something that connects the 3 vases.  Colour, size or shape.

A dozen red roses divided among 3 narrow silver cylinder vases, with 4 roses in each vase.

And if you want your roses to last as long as possible, do the Fussy Tussy Mussy.

Roses last the longest when you smash them together a bit, allowing each flower head and stem to support the other.

A dozen red roses with the stems cut short, in a round clear bubble vase.

For Fussy Tussy Mussy instructions click here.

Now … what if he/she only brings you one rose?

Close up shot of a single red rose on a white counter.

Well then, rip it apart and do this …

Red, shallow, glass bowl with what appears to be a huge white rose in the centre of it. It's actually individual petals floating on water to resemble a huge flower.

For Rose Bowl Instructions click here.

And just before I let you get back to your work, or childcare or nightcap let me quickly tell you the story about how I got the red roses for this post. I went to buy them at my regular grocery store but when I got them to the cash they were considerably more money than they normally are.  Something about the growers raising the prices for Valentine’s Day, then the wholesalers and then the store.  So I refused to buy them.  It was 7 days before Valentine’s Day!

I then went to my local garden centre in a huff.  Roses there were still $12.99.  Unless they were red.  In which case they were $30.  I stood in the cooler for a full 20 minutes deciding whether or not I could photoshop the orange roses to look like red for my Valentine’s post. This led to a few questioning looks from the florist. I explained my dilemma and cheapness.  She offered to give me some fully blown red roses for half price.  Out of pity.  I got a pity posy.  And I was fine with that.

And just so you know, in case you didn’t get any … I too won’t be getting red roses this year.  I’ve instructed my boyfriend never to buy me red roses on Valentine’s Day because of this exact type of money grabbing fiasco.

The very first year we were together we came up with a nice solution to my not getting roses on Valentine’s Day.  Instead I get a dozen roses during every other week of the year.  I think it’s a nice compromise.  And it’s certainly nicer than messing your pants from having a crossbow pointed at you.


→Follow me on Instagram where I often make a fool of myself←



  1. KAHNA EMERY says:

    Some roses I bought a few months ago were white with red lined petals. They waned and drooped, all except one when a friend took it, a rubber band and tied it up side-down. It dried perfectly straight–I still have it. Thank you for this information. I just bought some yellow roses today with one sprig of Baby’s Breath. Great solutions!

  2. Johnd453 says:

    Hi, everything is going well here and ofcourse every one is sharing information, that’s really fine, keep up writing. cgbdeeadaeea

  3. Leanne says:

    My birthday is Valentines day so something usually happens. The something is usually red roses. Even though I ask for a hazelnut cream candle… or a book… or peonies… or anything but red roses. Maybe if I point out the fact that he is getting ripped off he will stop buying them. I’m pretty sure he is more cheap than stubborn. ;)

  4. jUDY says:

    If you don’t want your rose to droop you can wire them. Stick a piece of floral wire into the head and wrap it down around the stem about 1/2 way. It will hold the head and your bouquet will look great for quite awhile. If your roses aren’t opening, recut the bottoms and put in room temp or slightly warm water. So you don’t think the florists are the ones raising the prices…it is the growers and yes colored roses are cheaper on valentines day because red is more in demand. Nice ideas herefor arranging but if you receive a doz. roses and there are no greens included I would find another florist.

  5. Terrie says:

    Great tips for easy ways to treat that dozen roses. Great minds think alike and I also wrote a how-to for grocery store roses – but making a more traditional arrangement. You might check it out at
    Happy Valentine’s Day!

  6. Cheryl says:

    I have share your feelings on price gouging on Valentines day. However this year I had to do a corsage the Saturday before for a dance my son was going to. I usually go and pick up roses up for a dollar and 50 cents each for corsages. But, because of the holiday they were 5.50 EACH wrapped. I toss most of what comes with them anyway. So, rather than buy 3 roses at 5.50 a pop I bought a dozen from a grocery store for 19 dollars partially blown and kept the remaining roses for the table. (Bought a piece of greenery for 50 cents.)
    Because of the holiday corsage of the simplest form were 25 dollars at the local florist.
    My corsages are getting better with each one that I make. The girl was very pleased with it. Whew.


  7. Rondell says:

    Great post, thanks for sharing this, now I’ll know what to do!

  8. Laura says:

    I got a card. And you look cute in your jammies.

    • Karen says:

      Lol! Yup. Anyone who follows me on Twitter or “likes” my Facebook page was treated to a picture of me in my Valentine’s present. :)

      Follow me on Twitter here.
      Follow me on Facebook here.

      Ya know … in case you’re curious. ~ karen

  9. Robyn L. Lupone says:

    Today is my 13th anniversary….I remember one year my husband had a bouquet delivered to my work….one stem of each variety they had in their cooler for every year….are you ready…$150–! The owner’s wife of the company I worked for was Wowed to say the least, he later showed up to take me away for 4 days! This year I got part of my gift two days early round trip tickets to Maui and the other part the actual day of departure is the 21st of February and return March 11th! I’m so excited I’m giddy! He’s a keeper and I’ve forgiven him for the expensive bouquet!

  10. I don’t like scentless florist’s roses either, but when they are forced on me I try to be gracious, helped by this way of bending them to my ethic –

    when they begin to droop (which will be ridiculously soon because they are full of Rose Growth Hormone), hang them upside down and they will dry nicely, and soon will look frail and nostalgic, instead of the travesty of a gorgeous, blowsy deep-bosomed scented garden rose that they are.

    • Karen says:

      Tricia (and everyone else) – Supposedly if your roses begin to droop in the neck (from an air bubble or whatever) lay them in a sink in cool/cold water. Rumour has it this will straighten it out. I know I’ve tried this with the rose wrapped in newspaper and as I recall it did work the odd time. ~ karen

  11. Denise says:

    I wouldn’t mind roses now that I see the choices in displaying them. But, I am continuously disappointed in them because they don’t open, don’t smell, and the heads droop fast…guess they were ones from the gas station.

  12. Mia says:

    Where did you get those freaking amazing silver birch vases?! I am beside myself with pure envy.

  13. suzy says:

    I had to give birth to get a dozen roses
    I am not going to do that again

  14. Valerie says:

    I don’t celebrate Valentine’s. When my boyfriend and I were in our first year I told him that if he for some reason still felt compelled to do something Valentinesy to please not buy anything marketed as such and to instead buy something I will actually like, or make something, or cook something.

    Since his last girlfriend was CRAZY with the v-day expectations, I think he’s happy to not worry about it.

  15. Recently my husband’s father passed away and we received some beautiful arrangements from florists shops. There were several roses amongst the various flowers and “filler” that I’m ashamed to admit I don’t know how to identify.

    Not one of the roses actually opened and none had any smell. One of the bouquets had some carnations and three weeks later, a few are still doing pretty good. There also were some sort of curly “sticks” that have sprouted leaves and roots. There also is something that looks oddly like skinny green and white cabbage that actually started rooting and growing too.
    To heck with moribund roses, give me a vase of “filler” – interesting nameless (to me) hearty cuttings that and can live for a while in water.

    • Karen says:

      LeeAnne – I’m so sorry to hear about your husband’s father. The death of a parent is so hard. About your flowers … what’s funny is you’ve named almost every one of them without even knowing! The “curly sticks” are probably Curly Willow. The white and green cabbage, are indeed Cabbage! They make great arrangements on their own. ~ karen

  16. Megan C says:

    My Husband did the right thing this year. He got me plants and plant pots for our backyard. Why get cut flowers when I can have a plant that will bloom every year.

  17. Oona says:

    I am not a fan of buying cut flowers, period. It’s seems to be a waste of money to buy something that is just going to die. They are lovely, but I can’t bring myself to spend money on them more than once every few months…

    • Karen says:

      Oona! LOL. You sound like my mother! That’s where you and I differ. I LOVE cut flowers in the house. They just make me happy. Soon to die or not. :) (the flowers I mean) ~ karen

  18. Thanks for the post and the laugh today. I have seen too many arrangements look like the first one you posted, and hopefully people will get the message. I’m also all for no flowers on Valentine’s day – but if he must – anything that isn’t red. Too cheesy.

    PS – I’ll be stealing your whole cupid description. Had me on the floor.

    Happy Day!

  19. That rose bowl is gorgeous!!! I hope my boyfriend didn’t splurge on roses. I’ll be okay with them if I get them tomorrow. =)

    Happy Valentine’s Day!!

  20. Christina says:

    Valentine’s Day is also my birthday, so I suspect my boyfriend of 1.5 years will likely fall prey to the money-grabbers and buy me some flowers. I genuinely wouldn’t mind if he doesn’t. Perhaps I should tell him that and save him the trouble. Or even better I’ll tell him to get me some white roses. That sounds absolutely lovely and they should be cheaper, right?

    • Karen says:

      Christina – I *love* white roses, so I’d be completely happy with those myself. And yes … depending on where he buys them they should be half the price! ~ karen

  21. Todd says:

    I miss our rose bush. I refuse to buy roses, especially around St. Valentine’s, but always loved fresh long stems from our garden. Can’t wait to get out of this rental.

    • Karen says:

      Todd – I have 12 rose bushes of varying types, and if you get into a house where you can have a rose bush make sure you buy one that’s disease/pest resistant. I don’t know if you have aphids or Japanese Beetles where you are, but certain roses repel them, and certain roses attract them. What a difference in the amount of work! ~ karen

  22. marilyn says:

    i will not be getting red roses which has nothing to do with my 34 yr old relationship and everything to do with the money grab end of things which i am totally fine with but i really did enjoy your tutorial for when i do get some roses or preferably tulips which will hopefully be white. or pink, or yellow anything but red! and i too looove those vases! have a great day! xo marilyn

  23. mimi says:

    LOL at the first vase “arrangement”!!
    And I’m amazed at the difference in the 2nd one, from just tying them together!
    I totally agree re red rose prices, I prefer just 1 rose today and I hate florist roses because they have no scent, it just seems wrong to me, even though they’re supposed to be “stronger” or something….oh sorry, I’ve gone into my Valentines Day rant.

  24. Michelle says:

    I have been guilty of exhibit 1 but the winner is definately the trio it makes it look like 2 dozen. Bet you just love that you have blooms the week after everyone elses are starting to die off! Happy V Day x

  25. Norell says:

    I’ve been married 30 years and each year my DH spends way too much on flowers for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love roses. This year we’ve vowed to start becoming debt free so I asked him not to purchase flowers, candy or a card. I did ask for dirt and a new plant for a planter I received at Christmas. I can’t wait to get my new plant???

  26. Adrienne Audrey says:

    My relationship is 4.5 years old so this may be my last chance to receive roses :) Where did you get the trio of silver vases? They’re gorgeous.

  27. Meredith says:

    Most florists will tell you to trim the stems UNDER WATER in order to avoid getting any air into them. The roses will last longer if this extra step is taken.

    • Karen says:

      Meredith. Yes. That’s true. I didn’t include any actual “rose” preserving tips in this post. That’s definitely one of them.! (although funnily enough, I’ve heard a lot of florists say they don’t know whether it really works or not!) ~ karen

  28. I *really* like the leaning arrangement. Totally keeping that in mind for the next time I receive flowers. Or buy myself flowers, narcissist that I am ;)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *