Guard petals on Garden Roses
What are the crinkly sometimes wilted or shrunken petals on the outside of Roses?
In short they are the guard petals.
Guard petals are natures way of protecting the flower inside. Yes they can look a bit brown and unsightly but they are there to protect the beautiful flower inside. It's the plant's way of protecting the flowers from wind, rain, low temperatures and other weather related challenges.
Rose growers around the world leave the guard petals on each flower to protect the flowers during transit. As a British rose grower we are no different. We know that our garden roses are likely to have a few bumps and bruises whilst in transit to you. They are delicate things so we leave the guard petals on. Think of guard petals as a type of sacrificial petal to protect the good stuff inside and you're on the right track.
Most Florists understand the role of guard petals and will remove the petals if they are using the rose for an event or wedding. If you receive a bouquet with roses and the guard petals are left on by your Florist, your Florist (or the grower) haven't given you dodgy or damaged roses - they leave them on to protect the flower during transit.
How do I remove them?
Don't panic, it's fairly self explanatory and doesn't require any special skills or knowledge. The rose is not damaged or defective in any way. It's how they grow.
Very gently and carefully peel the guard petal away from the flower head. Depending on the rose variety there can be anything from 2 - 8 guard petals so just keep gently peeling until they've gone. Don't worry if you pull a 'real' petal off you won't damage the rose or change the overall look.
Just don't tug sharply at the guard petals to remove them as you might snap the head off if you pull too hard. Slow and gentle.
Et voila! Guard petals removed. Enjoy your beautiful guard petal free roses.
Below are a few photos of before and after guard petals removed to illustrate the difference/s.