How to Preserve a Fresh Flower

Overview

Preserving fresh flowers is one way to create a memento of an occasion. It is also a way to provide raw materials for arts and crafts and inexpensive means for decorating a home. Because there are so many reasons to preserve fresh flowers, the task is one that a wide range of people undertake, from hobbyist and arts-and-crafts enthusiasts to gardeners and people who receive flowers as gifts or want to commemorate an event.

Air Drying

Step 1

Time flower collection for midday when the water stored within the flower is at its lowest.

Step 2

Pick flowers with petals that are at their peak of bloom.

Step 3

Tie stems of flowers that do not readily wilt into bundles. Roses are good candidates for drying this way.

Step 4

Hang these bundles upside down in a well-ventilated, dark location, such as a closet, to dry.

Step 5

Check that flowers are dry periodically. Most flowers take approximately two weeks to dry. Fleshier flowers take longer to dry.

Desiccants

Step 1

Mix a drying medium that uses one part clean white sand with no sodium in it from sea salt and two parts borax. Mix 1 tbsp. salt to each quart of drying mixture you use.

Step 2

Select flowers that wilt easily, such as daisies or black-eyed Susan, to dry in desiccants.

Step 3

Choose a container that is only slightly larger than your flowers. Flower spikes will need a florist's box, while tiny flowers such as daises can be placed in a small coffee can.

Step 4

Pour 1 inch of the drying agent in the bottom of the container. Place flowers on top of the desiccants so that they do not touch one another. Flat-faced flowers such as daises should be placed face down. All others should point face up.

Step 5

Place desiccants carefully over the top of the flowers so that they retain their shape. Bury the flowers in 1 inch of drying agent. Position a second layer of drying agent into the container. Continue to bury the flowers in this way until you have filled the container within ½ inch of the top. Cover the container and leave the flowers to dry. Different flowers will dry at different rates depending on how much moisture is in each flower. Thin-textured flowers may dry in as little as four days, while flowers with thick petals may dry over a period of 14 days or more. Flowers will be crisp and dry to the touch, but not brittle when they are properly dry.

Things You'll Need

  • Flowers
  • String
  • Sand
  • Borax
  • Salt
  • Box

References

  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: Drying and Preserving Plant Materials
  • Maryland Cooperative Extension Service: Preserving Flowers and Leaves

Who Can Help

  • Mississippi State University Extension: Crafting With Roses
Keywords: air drying flowers, preserving garden cuttings, homemade decorations

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."