Nature's Pretty Bodyguards: What Are Guard Petals

It’s past 3 pm. You’re extremely tired and experiencing the worst case of hangry. Thankfully, it's finally time to take your well-deserved break and order some food.

But one of your colleagues interrupts your hasty food-hunt scroll, telling you that your order is here. That's odd. To your surprise, a delivery man greets you with a bouquet in his left hand and a takeout in the other. Free food and fresh flowers? This must be a dream! 

We know this scenario would only happen in movies 😂 but there are times when people experience a sudden special delivery. Which, those fresh flowers - usually roses - they received may appear "wilted" or "unfresh" and most often lose their freshness once they reach home. Are they though?

In this article, we'll go into detail about what guard petals really are and why we need them. Let's get started.

What Are Guard Petals?

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of nature's pretty bodyguards, we must know what they are and why they are called 'guard petals' in the first place. 

Guard petals are often seen on roses. If you've received a bouquet of fresh roses before, you may have seen three or four hard petals surrounding the bloom. The outer petals you see are typically wrinkled and have a striped appearance with slight discolouration - which leads you (and most people) to think that the roses are not fresh.

However, what you don't know is that these outer petals are, in fact, protecting the inner buds for a beautiful bloom during packing and transit, avoiding most mechanical damage on their way to flower stores and your home. They are nature’s pretty bodyguards; hence the name guard petals. 

Multicolour roses wrapped with paper
Credits to Canva

As we know flower gifting is not tied to a specific occasion and is a year-round thing. This is why we want to highlight more about guard petals to make sure the flowers you receive or you are about to send are at their best with longer vase life. 

Why Do We Leave Guard Petals?

Rose growers around the world leave guard petals on each flower to protect the flowers during transit as these flowers are very delicate. Florists are no different. We understand the important role that guard petals carry which is why you may see a few guard petals on your bouquet of fresh roses. 

To avoid unexpected issues during delivery service, florists will not remove the guard petals. This is to ensure our customers can enjoy the roses as long as possible - unless the floral arrangements are going to be used the same day (for special events like weddings) and become disposable after use.  

To Peel Or Not To Peel?

Keep in mind that roses have a vase life of about a week with proper care and attention. So, once you bring these beautiful blooms home, ask yourself: to peel or not to peel? It’s your call. You can leave the guard petals to retain the roses’ natural beauty or peel them for a more polished look. Whatever you decide, your roses look gorgeous either way!

Pink Rose with Plucked Petals

Credits to Canva

How To Safely Remove Guard Petals

If you do decide to remove the guard petals, here’s how to do it. It's fairly self-explanatory, and frankly, doesn't require any special skills or knowledge. You can also check out this video made by Mairena Flowers to make it easier for you!

Gently peel the guard petal away from the flower head.  Depending on the rose variety, there may be 2 - 8 guard petals. Simply put your index finger between the nearest internal rose petal and the guard petal.

Pinch your thumb and index finger together, then remove the guard petal. They should come off quite easily so you shouldn’t have to pull too hard.

Make sure to get rid of the whole guard petal. Any pieces of the guard petals that are left at the base of the bloom are similar to open incisions that can allow bacteria to enter, reducing the flower's lifespan. 

It’s important to note that cut flowers need a lot of energy to keep their blooms fresh for a long time. Leaving the guard petals on takes energy away, therefore, it’s much better to remove the guard petals completely to help maximise the freshness and shape of your bouquet for as long as possible. 

Once the guard petals are removed, you’ll need to wait for a few days for them to fully open and bloom. Et voila! You now have a vase full of beautiful roses! PS: It’s definitely worth the wait.😉

Pro Tip:

To keep your roses fresh and best-looking in a vase longer, avoid putting them near fruits and vegetables and keep them away from direct sunlight. Remember to change the water regularly and re-cut stems each time you change the water to allow better absorption.


At Luna Floral Atelier, we provide beautiful blooms to convey your heartfelt sentiments no matter the occasion based on your budget and styling needs. Each arrangement is made to order as we want to ensure the flowers are of the best and freshest quality when delivered. Send fresh flowers to those you love today with same-day delivery!

Customisations are also available. Reach out to our team here or on our socials at We’ll make your dream floral arrangement come to life.


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