How to Preserve Flowers with Glycerine

Overview

Preserving fresh flowers from the garden allows you to display the stems year-round. Glycerin is a clear and odorless liquid that is used to make cosmetics and preserve food but can also preserve flowers as it pulls moisture out of the stem and blossom. Glycerin works well on long plant and flower stems as the process holds the standing shape of the stem and keeps the foliage pliable in some plants. Play around with the drying process by using flower blossoms during different stages of opening and a variety of flower species to create attractive dried displays.

Step 1

Cut flowers and stems to a length of 18 inches or shorter with a pruning clipper or scissors. Choose flowers and foliage that have appealing colors and shapes, and no damage or spots. Collect stems during the cool morning or evening to reduce water loss in the stem.

Step 2

Remove all leaves from the lower 6 inches of the stem and crush that area with a hammer. Stems that are woody should have the bark pulled back before crushing. Crushing the stem will increase the rate of absorption and quicken the preservation process.

Step 3

Pour two parts water into a container and heat it until just before boiling. Pour one part glycerin into the water and gently mix. Fill a glass container with the 6 inches of solution and mark the top of the fill line so you can monitor the amount of liquid being absorbed.

Step 4

Stick the crushed stem ends into the warm glycerin solution. Monitor the level of solution and refill to the fill line as it disappears. The stems will preserve in 2 to 6 weeks depending on the stem thickness. The process is complete once the foliage becomes brown.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning clipper
  • Hammer
  • Water
  • Glycerin
  • Stove
  • Kettle
  • Glass container
  • Food coloring

References

  • North Dakota State University: Dried and Fresh-Cut Flowers
  • University of West Virginia: Preserving Flowers for Year
  • Clemson University: Drying Flowers
Keywords: preserve flower glycerin, dry flower glycerin, drying fresh flowers

About this Author

Jennifer Loucks has over 10 years of experience as a former technical writer for a software development company in Wisconsin. Her writing experience includes creating software documentation and help documents for clients and staff along with training curriculum. Loucks holds a Bachelor of Science major from the University of Wisconsin - River Falls specializing in animal science and business.